Volkswagen designs e-tractor for Africa

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In line with the “mechanisation of agriculture” programme in Rwanda that started in 2009/2010, Volkswagen Rwanda is test-driving a prototype of an e-tractor on a field in the Bugesera District by the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA), according to publication in The New Times in the country.

The prototype e-tractor which will be powered by renewable energy (sun), is promising to ease farmers’ work and increase the yield on the farmland, officials say.

According to Volkswagen Rwanda CEO Serge Kamuhinda, the e-tractor will be a multi-tasker, meant to be used in soil preparation and post-harvest handling.

This will primarily be useful for farmers who suffer using a lot of physical and labour force and in the end yield less from their farmland.

“Among other projected benefits of e-tractors for farmers include facilitating transport, as it has been seen that farmers in rural areas face difficulties in the transportation of their goods”, Serge affirmed.

Volkswagen is in collaboration with different stakeholders, to be able to activate this prototype in Rwanda, after which it has successfully been tested in Germany. It is also intended to be implemented in South Africa where VW has operations.

The stakeholders include: Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the University of Rwanda-College of Science and Technology.

According to Herbert Diess, Chairman of Board of Management of Volkswagen Group, together with their partners, they launched the conservation agriculture project Gen.Farm: a sustainable Co2-free hub where farmers can book an e-tractor including a trained driver.

The e-tractor has a changeable 32KWh lithium-ion battery that allows operation around the clock. The tractor doesn’t need fossil fuel, but rather uses renewable energies which will be more climate friendly. Its engine has a power output of 20 kW (27 pk).

Since the e-tractor is still a prototype that is yet to be tested, Kamuhinda suggested waiting for the project to be fully studied, tested and implemented to measure its full potential.

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By then, a follow-up would be made to evaluate the impacts of testing this prototype tractor

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