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The Atena project (Advanced Tractors with Electric implements for Agricultural green revolution), with Antonio Carraro as project leader, was presented on 9 November 2022 at EIMA International in Bologna and has received funding of US$3.332 across 36 months from the European Life programme

AdobeStock 413717621The electrified machines are expected to come onto the market towards the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

In addition to Antonio Carraro, three strategic partners are taking part in the Atena project: ERO for equipment in the wine-growing sector and Ecothea (a start-up of the Turin Polytechnic) as the partners representing applied research, and the Consortium for the protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadone Prosecco Docg, Italy's wine-growing excellence, which will field-test the innovations proposed by the manufacturers.

As the acronym suggests, these innovations will share the trait of electrification, which is the key aspect of the experimental project. The electrification of agricultural machinery is one of the drives for the development of the sector in the coming years. The fact that four companies have won a European call for tenders and have formed a consortium, appears to be particularly interesting for the entire agricultural mechanisation sector.

The project will lead to the construction of a full-hybrid and a full-electric tractor, starting from a remodelled Antonio Carraro Srx articulated model, and will result in the production of five types of equipment, branded ERO: a defoliator, a pruning machine, a pre-pruner, a mounted sprayer and a cultivator with blade weeder. All of this will have a direct outlet in the important Valdobbiadene wine-growing consortium.

The presentation at Eima was attended by the protagonists of the Atena project: Damiano De Checchi and Franco Gazzola, technicians from Antonio Carraro, Ignaz Weber from ERO and Aurelio Somà from Ecothea-Politecnico di Torino.

The electrified machines are expected to come onto the market towards the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025, with the unknown factor of cost, on which Somà spoke, "No one at this moment can say with certainty how much more the electrified machine will cost and the exact amount of savings. The only truly electric machine that has come onto the market, used in animal husbandry, has a price differential of less than 20%. On these values, the Atena project is viable and should be pursued." This analysis is fully supported by Liliana Carraro, communications manager of the Padua-based group.