The Seigneur, Christopher Beaumont, has taken delivery of his new machine, and, after a lifetime of hearing loud tractors, he said the most notable feature was the silence.
‘It doesn’t make any noise, it’s very capable, it’s just like an ordinary tractor, it has exactly the same fittings as an ordinary tractor, so it does all the things we would want a tractor to do.
‘It’s a compact tractor, it’s only small, it’s about 24 horsepower equivalent, but it operates in exactly the same way as any compact tractor would, it behaves and looks like any other tractor, it just doesn’t make any noise.’
The electric tractor has a roughly 21kWh battery, which means it can be used for about six to eight hours non-stop before it needs to be plugged in and charged.
The Seigneurie and the gardens are off-grid and use solar power, so in effect the tractor runs off the sun.
Size-wise it is too small for heavy ploughing jobs or pulling large loads up the harbour hill, but for everything else on Sark it fits the job.
Mr Beaumont was delighted that Sark was leading the way on this form of sustainability.
‘We think it’s the first-ever electric tractor in the British Isles. They’ve had some for demonstration purposes, but no one has actually bought one, so I think we’re the first people to have bought into the concept.
‘There’s no reason not to lead on this particular front because we use tractors as a means of doing work on the island, whether that’s being a carter or being a farmer, or in my case just being a landowner and needing to look after fields and woods and gardens, so we need mechanical assistance.
‘The only mechanical assistance you can get is through a tractor. I think we gave up using horses for that sort of thing quite some time ago, so why not lead the way in using mechanical assistance that is powered by renewable energy?’
The electric tractor was more expensive than a diesel one, and Mr Beaumont said that was always the case with new technology and being an early adopter.
‘In order to lead the way that’s the sacrifice you have to make.’