PORTLAND, OR -- A major conference on electric mobility is happening now in Portland. The Roadmap Conference is organized by FORTH. Executive Director Jeff Allen says they’re showcasing a variety of EVs, including electric tractors, which don't rely on expensive diesel. "A lot of the diesel that farms burn, they burn idling. Of course, with an electric tractor, you’re not using any fuel if it’s not moving," Allen tells KBND News, "And electricity is a lot more predictable. It’s regulated. You know what it’s going to cost." FORTH is working with a handful of Oregon farmers to test out this new technology and provide feedback, "We’re also finding [farmers] love the fact that they’re quiet and they don’t stink."
Allen says FORTH has two electric tractors rotating around the state, including at a Sisters-area ranch. There are only a handful in use around the country. They’re not big - 30 to 40 horsepower. But Allen says they could have a positive impact on a farmer’s bottom line, "Batteries and electric drivetrain, and all that technology, the costs have been going down dramatically and quality has been going up dramatically."
Those tech improvements and the rising cost of fuel are pushing expansion of electrification, which is the focus of this week's Roadmap Conference, "We’re talking about all kinds of electric vehicles: tractors, cars, school buses, planes, boats, you name it. Pretty much, if it moves, it’s going electric."
Photo courtesy FORTH Mobility