Following an extensive road test conducted by technical experts from the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Agriculture in Germany on behalf of John Deere, the company's new direct drive transmission with double clutch technology has proved to be a highly fuel-efficient and time-saving alternative to continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).
Designed to complement the results of the standard power mix test, which focuses on field applications at speeds of less than 16kph, a road test was set up to assess the fuel and extra liquid consumption of three tractor makes covering four models from 237 to 261hp (maximum ratings), under varying load conditions.
The 165km test track featured flat roads, junctions and hills with slopes of up to 12pc.
Before testing, each of the tractors was prepared in the same way, with identical tyre pressures and ballast.
The tractors were driven unladen and with an 18-tonne trailer filled with gravel, and four drivers from German contractors were hired for the tests.
After each drive, the machines were refuelled with diesel and, except for the two diesel-only John Deere tractors, with AdBlue. Throughout the test, fuel temperatures and machine performance were recorded, as well as tractor speeds and test-related data.
In total, the operators drove more than 5,000km to achieve reliable test results.
Of the four machines, the John Deere 6210R equipped with direct drive recorded the lowest total liquid (diesel plus additive) consumption per kilometre in both categories (with and without the trailer).
The total cost of the fuel used by the 6210R with its new transmission was 5pc less than the average cost of the combined fuel and liquid used by the four tractors.
The direct drive solution combines the comfort of a stepless transmission with the efficiency of a mechanical one, giving higher average for the 6210R.
The resulting saving would lower the overall operating costs even further, says Alexander Berges, of John Deere's Mannheim tractor factory.