INDUSTRY INSIDER | April 18, 2024

Kubota Weighs Making Own Batteries for Electric Equipment

Original Source: Nikkei

OSAKA — Japanese agricultural equipment builder Kubota is considering making batteries in-house for electric versions of its farm machinery, preparing for rising demand with planned product launches in the U.S. and Europe over the next few years.

The manufacturer currently makes diesel engines for its farm equipment in Thailand and Japan, then ships them to other markets such as Europe and the U.S. for final assembly.

Similarly, for the electric models, “we want to be able to manufacture [the batteries] in Thailand for Asia, and domestically for Japan, the U.S. and Europe,” Kubota President Yuichi Kitao told Nikkei.

Kubota began renting out electric tractors in Europe last April. It currently assembles them, with the batteries, in otherwise idle space in existing production facilities.

Because the batteries require a particular cooling method unique to Kubota, “we procure the cells from outside, but handle all the design and development in-house,” Kitao said. The company will consider building a dedicated battery factory in Japan, depending on demand.

Kubota plans to roll out small and midsize electric tractors, mowers and carriers in the U.S. and Europe by 2030. The specific release schedule will be determined based on diesel and emissions regulations in individual countries.