Dec 7, 2022
Monarch’s fully electric smart tractor hits the market
The first fully electric, driver-optional smart tractor has rolled off the production line. Monarch Tractor’s MK-V tractor, which the company says is the equivalent emission reduction of removing 14 passenger vehicles from the road, is now on the market.
The MK-V was revealed by the Livermore, California-based company two years ago. This week, the first models in the Founder Series production line officially became available to commercial growers, who the manufacturer says will realize labor productivity and increased safety while maximizing yields.
Monarch’s first customer is Constellation Brands, a wine and craft spirits producer and the largest beer importer in the U.S. The New York-based Fortune 500 company purchased the first six Founder Series MK-V tractors.
After delivery to Constellation Brands, Monarch will make additional shipments to other multinational corporations and family farms.
“We’re very committed to protecting, preserving and giving back to the environment,” said Robert Hanson, Constellation Brands executive vice president and president of the company’s wine and spirits division. “It’s an essential aspect of what we need to do to sustain our business going forward. … To farm that vineyard with the Monarch tractors is demonstrating our leadership and commitment to changing the way we farm moving forward so it’s done in a way that’s better for our world.”
With an integrated single platform combining automation, machine learning and data analysis, the MK-V has won several awards since its December 2020 unveiling, including being named to the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list. It was also recognized as a CES 2022 Innovation Award Honoree and named Overall AgTech Solution of the Year in the 2021 AgTech Breakthrough Awards.
Pilot tests took place in spring 2021 at California’s Wente Vineyards.
The zero-emission Monarch MK-V has a battery runtime of 14-plus hours and includes a keyless smart screen, 360-degree cameras and a nine-foot turning radius. The tractor will stop moving if it detects a human within five feet and will automatically shut off if a human limb is detected within one foot of the power take off.
“Each one of our tractors is roughly equal to 14 cars worth of emissions, and the price of diesel is exorbitant,” Monarch co-founder and CEO Praveen Penmetsa told Forbes.com. “We can help save money from a diesel standpoint. Instead of spraying chemicals to kill grass, just mow. It’s going to reduce emissions, reduce the amount of chemicals, all the while making more money for the farmers and keep their existing workforce more efficient and out of harm’s way.”
MK-V operators can also operate up to eight tractors using a remote fleet interface featuring live video feeds, detailed weather information and real-time operation reports.