Vehicles: when can
farmers ditch diesel?

No rural business will be able to buy new petrol and diesel engine cars, vans or pick-ups from 2030. Tractors and other agricultural vehicles will be exempt from the ban.

So, what is the response from manufacturers? When will we see non-fossil fuel tractors in the shed?

A buzz around electricity

Cars and vans are well represented in the electric vehicle ranges of nearly all manufacturers. You’ve seen the ever-increasing number of electric cars and vans on our roads. Amazon, for instance, run a 100% electric fleet of delivery vans.

AF Vehicle Specialist Greg Purling has a range of cars available, with good discounts available for AF Members from a dozen manufacturers including BMW, VW, Vauxhall and Hyundai.

Some gaps remain

AF can also source a number of utility vehicles from golf carts to ATVs but there is a lack of large four-wheel drive options, with electric pick-ups and SUVs being few and far between.

One exception is the Maxus T90EV, a crew cab pick up with a range of up to 220 miles and a max payload of 1 tonne. AF members had an opportunity to see the vehicle first hand earlier this year when a demonstration model was available for test drive.

The Scottish manufacturer Munro has a futuristic Defender look-a-like which promises good performance figures, but is being produced in very small numbers.

Beyond this, the Jeep and Volvo electric SUVs are more car than working vehicle, so the other viable option is an electric conversion for an existing vehicle, and there are a lot of specialists advertising the service. Or you could try a home conversion, but kits start at £25k so this is not a cheap option.

Methane tractor

New Holland has been leading the way in agricultural vehicle technology with their first-generation natural gas/methane tractor prototype unveiled in 2013, and now a production model T6 available as a 180hp working model which is being trialled now on farms.

AF Machinery Specialist Kelvin Sloper has seen the T6 at Cereals 2023 and the Doe Show. He reports that it looks and acts like a standard diesel tractor, but when reviewing the published specification is less impressed.

The rated horsepower, engine speed and tyre size all seem low/small, bringing into question the ability of the tractor to take on primary arable cultivations, and it is notable that much of the trial work has been on dairy units.

Kelvin also notes that CNH have put a lot of focus on their Case Puma/ Optum and New Holland T7/T8 ranges with the introduction of new higher horsepower models offering increased levels of performance and operator comfort. CNH presently appears to see these tractors as the main focus of their agricultural business, and that the New Holland T6 is likely to be a stage in the progression to a high functioning hydrogen or methane model in the future.

Best buys?

Let’s wait and see how the agricultural vehicle market develops, and what other manufacturers do to catch up with CNH, but for now hang on to your hard-earned cash and focus replacement strategies on tried and tested brands and models.

If you are looking for an electric car, van or ATV to buy or hire this is a much more established market, and there is far greater variety and competition, so email Greg or call him on 01603 881 831 and #challengeAF to get you the best price.

Save money. Save time.