John Deere is adding to an already significant 2022 investment to fill growing demand from customers and investors for sustainable equipment solutions reports Larry Stewart CONEXPO.
John Deere is investing an undisclosed amount to expand production capacity at battery maker Kreisel Electric on the heels of acquiring a majority ownership stake in the Austrian company earlier this year for $276 million (an amount a little greater than Deere’s cost to acquire the three Deere-Hitachi excavator joint-venture plants).
“We have plans to expand our product portfolio to include more electric and diesel-electric machines,” Jennifer Preston, global director of John Deere Electric Power, told CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365, “As part of our Leap Ambitions, we will deliver 20+ electric and hybrid-electric construction and forestry models by 2026.”
Deere and Kreisel exchange value
Kreisel develops high-density, immersion-cooled electric battery modules and packs for high-performance and off-highway applications. The company also has a charging infrastructure platform for its patented battery technology. Advanced immersion cooling technology for each individual cell helps ensure long battery-life and safety.
Kriesel’s battery technology and battery-buffered charging infrastructure serves a global customer base across multiple end markets, including commercial vehicles, off-highway vehicles, marine, e-motorsports, and other high-performance applications.
Funds from the investment will primarily be deployed to mobile commercial and industrial solutions as well as the charging-infrastructure division of Kreisel, increasing battery production capacity by more than 2 GWh to meet growing demand to store power for electric- or hybrid-propulsion systems.
In addition to expanding Kreisel’s production facility in Austria, the investment will open a new facility at John Deere’s Saran factory in France – the primary manufacturing location for John Deere engines in the European Union. At the Saran facility, Kreisel will have access to Deere’s supply chain management, manufacturing engineering, quality assurance, logistics coordination and automation solutions.
“This investment will put a strong focus on the industrialization and automation of the entire production process, as well as research and development capacities at Kreisel HQ in Rainbach,” said Preston.
Parallel with this project, John Deere will also invest in battery assembly in the United States.
Kreisel to be Deere’s electrification cornerstone
A Deere & Company statement on the investment acknowledges that its “strategic alignment with Kreisel will be the cornerstone for electrification of John Deere brand products.” Products in Deere’s portfolio such as turf equipment, compact utility tractors, small tractors, compact construction, and some road building equipment could rely solely on batteries as a primary power source.
“Our joint venture with Kreisel gives us the opportunity to work with a company with unique technology that is aiming for the same markets we are aiming for,” said Preston.
“Kreisel’s technology and products target applications with demanding duty cycles and high operating hours, making their products a good fit for agriculture, construction, road building, commercial mowing, and golf applications.
“Teaming with Kreisel also allows us to optimally integrate vehicle and powertrain designs around high-durability battery packs, maximizing performance of the system, while leveraging Kreisel’s charging technology to build out infrastructure required for customer adoption. Electrification is a key enabler for automation and autonomy, allowing us to generate more customer insights to reduce operating costs on the jobsite or in a field. Electrification also improves data capture opportunities as battery vehicles generate more data than ICE vehicles and provide deeper connectivity, leading to improved diagnostics and development of new service and aftermarket models.
“Ultimately, our joint venture with Kreisel allows us to reach critical size in battery supply to best serve our customers at the lowest possible cost.”
Photo: Deere’s second investment will expand battery production in Kreisel facilities and at Deere’s engine plant in France. Photo: Kreisel Electric
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