Ideanomics, a global company focused on the convergence of financial services and industries experiencing technological disruption, has increased its stake in California-based Solectrac, Inc. Solectrac develops, assembles and distributes 100% battery-powered electric tractors for agriculture and utility operations.
Ideanomics had already increased its stake to 14.7% of Solectrac, Inc. last month (October 2020). Today an additional $1.3 million investment has been announced which takes the company’s ownership to 24% (reducing to approximately 22% post-money once additional third-party investment is finalized). This additional investment reflects investment interest in Solectrac by ESG funds which is expected to close in the coming weeks.
“We are very pleased to increase our investment in Steve and the Solectrac team, and we welcome the investment interest from funds looking to deploy capital in the clean energy and EV sector. We believe Solectrac has enormous potential and, given the uptick in both product inquiries and investment interest they are seeing, we exercised our rights to increase our stake so we can help Solectrac scale to meet anticipated market demand,” said Alf Poor, CEO of Ideanomics. “We are excited to work with Ideanomics to accelerate progress toward a cleaner, healthier future,” said Steve Heckeroth, CEO/Founder of Solectrac.
Non-combustible lithium iron phosphate batteries
Founded in 2012 Solectrac is the first North American company to enter the $12B US tractor market with its zero-emission electric tractors. It has received grants from the Indian U.S. Science and Technology Fund (IUSSTF) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2020, Solectrac earned the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label from the Solar Impulse Foundation, recognizing Solectrac as one of the 1,000 most ‘efficient, clean, and profitable solutions with a positive impact on environment and quality of life’.
Solectrac’s patented battery-exchange technology includes non-combustible lithium iron phosphate batteries that eliminate the issue of limited run-time and can be recharged off the utility grid or via renewable energy sources. Unlike a diesel engine which consists of over 300 separate parts an electric motor has only one, it is designed to last 100 years without maintenance. “With our zero-emission electric tractors, tractor operators don’t have to choose between power and environmentally-friendly practices” says Solectrac CEO Steve Heckeroth.
Solectrac’s clean zero emission tractors
Solectrac offers a Two Wheel Drive (2WD) eUtility electric tractor that the company says can match the workload of any traditional 2WD, forty horsepower (hp) diesel tractor. The company also sells their 30hp 4WD Compact Electric Tractor (CET) which has potential use as a utility vehicle for farming, vineyards, greenhouses, golf courses and municipalities.
Under development is a 2WD, 30hp vehicle called the ‘eFarmer’, a joystick controlled, high visibility vehicle designed for row crop farming. The front hitch on the eFarmer can be used to carry a low lift loader bucket or any other front mounted implement, such as a reaper. The front hitch is capable of lifting, moving and dumping 1,000 lbs. loads.
Battery run-time on Solectrac’s vehicles varies from 3-6 hours on the 4WD CET to 4-8 hours for the eUtility and eFarmer tractors (depending on load). Solectrac also produces exchangeable battery packs that can be used to extend run time or for back-up power. The batteries on all vehicles are ‘level 2 fast charging’ with an 80% charge in 3 hours or full charge overnight.
Solectrac tractors provide an opportunity for farmers around the world to power their tractors by using the sun, wind, and other clean renewable sources of energy. The company’s mission is to offer farmers independence from the pollution, infrastructure, and price volatility associated with fossil fuels.