DRIVING IMPRESSION: Way back at Agritechnica 2019, John Deere unveiled the new E-AutoPowr — an electrified version of its CVT. Now the first units are hitting the market, so we decided to take a closer look.
When you look at the specification for John Deere’s top 8R, 8RX, 8RT model, the 410, you will notice it only comes with the powershiftE23 ‘box, as the Waterloo-built AutoPowr CVT can’t handle the maximum 443hp delivered by the big 8. With many customers wanting a stepless transmission, the Americans had to come up with something, but, rather than beef up the existing bits, the team opted for a more future-minded solution.
Electricity instead of hydraulics
This ‘solution’ turned out to be the E-AutoPowr transmission; the hydraulic pump and motor are replaced by an electric generator and an identical electric motor.
So, how does it all work? The diesel engine powers the alternator/generator to produce the electricity for driving the electric motor. This, in turn, drives the sun gear inside the planetary gearset, while the ring gear is driven by the mechanical part of the gearbox.
The gearbox has four automatically changing ratios (John Deere refers to these as ‘modes’), which, together with the electric side, provide a stepless drive throughout a 0-40 or 50km/ hr range. In addition, the E-AutoPowr is also approved for outputs of up to 443hp for pure draft work. There’s also a power boost, which increases the maximum output for transport and pto work, but only by 15hp.