Dwayne Martin, cofounder of Wakarusa Ag Services in Wakarusa, Ind., introduced the Kovaco MiniZ and Elise 900 electric, remote controlled skid steers at the 2022 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., in February.
The Elise 900 has a 96-volt, 400-amp hour battery, 2 electric drive motors and an electric motor to run the hydraulic functions, which control the booms and the bucket. It has the same functionality as a diesel skid steer and standard skid loader hookups that fit any other attachments on the market.
“We truly believe this is revolutionary to the industry,” Martin says. “It’s given us lower operating costs, less moving parts and bringing the opportunity to go into confined spaces without emissions.”
The MiniZ is a cabless, electric and remote-controlled skid steer that features a track mini loader for entering confined spaces with no exhaust or emissions. It can fit through a doorway 30 inches wide, and with a weight of 850 pounds, it can ride on most elevators for construction applications. The MiniZ also has the ability to hook up to various attachments, and the operator can ride on the back of the machine as they would on a traditional diesel compact mini loader. It can operate for 8 hours on a single charge.
Martin sees potential in the ag industry to use the machine in horse and livestock barns to clean without much noise or emissions. He says some of his agricultural clients are hesitant about the new technology, but many are glad to see it. Martin is a dairy farmer himself, and he worries about fires and engine failures with traditional diesel skid loaders operating in dusty barn conditions.
“I believe this is the answer to that problem, given a lot less moving parts, no heat from an engine and just less maintenance,” Martin says.
Kovaco’s electric skid steers also bring the opportunity for eliminating hidden costs that come with a diesel machine, Martin says.
“We're looking at over $10 an hour in operating costs on consumables and diesel fuel oil changes,” Martin says, “where these are going to be looking down around $2 an hour, depending on what your power costs are, but significant savings.”
Our editors are currently putting the finishing touches on Ag Equipment Intelligences Electric Farm Machinery: Outlook Through 2027 research report. This in-depth report will be released on March 15. Visit AgEquipmentIntelligence.com/ElectricReport