Traditional African living conditions, climate change and population growth – an international team of Volkswagen experts has taken all these factors into account to develop an e-tractor study and an associated ecosystem. The aim is to enable new and sustainable forms of micro-agriculture and mobility in rural Africa. “The concept of the e-tractor could change the lives of many people in rural regions of Africa from the ground up,” says Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen South Africa.
The project was developed in cooperation between Volkswagen Group Innovation and Volkswagen Group South Africa. The concept study celebrates its premiere as part of the exhibition Countryside, The Future, shown by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which opens on February 20, 2020. This makes Volkswagen the only cooperation partner to contribute an exhibit to the Display.
In many rural regions of Africa, harvest productivity is limited because farmers hardly use any machinery. However, this is not necessarily due to the availability of technical equipment, but to access to fuels. “But what there is enough of in these regions is sun,” says Peter Wouda, Design Director of the Volkswagen Group Innovation Center. Wouda is part of the development team for the e-tractor research project, the idea for which came from Holger Lange’s Volkswagen Group Innovation. The idea includes decentralized solar panels that can charge the batteries of the tractor but also of other vehicles or machines and at the same time act as antennas for mobile internet or as shade providers. “The idea is about much more than mobility. It is a sharing and community concept,” says Wouda.