The potential of electric tractors to reduce Sweden's climate impact – A study of machine systems in agriculture.

Mistra Food Future’s report #10 “The potential of electric tractors to reduce Sweden’s climate impact – A study of machine systems in agriculture” investigated the potential for reducing climate impact in Swedish agriculture through a transition to lighter, electric, and self-driving tractors powered by electricity from batteries or hydrogen.

This report examines the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by electrifying field machines in agriculture. Both battery operation and fuel cells were examined, and the entire life cycle of the vehicle was examined. A likely development for the technology is shown and it is estimated how long it may take to get there. The purpose is to investigate the potential of reduced climate impact on a national level and therefore all arable land in Sweden has been included in the estimate. The results are of general interest, but are mainly aimed at farmers, politicians, and researchers where it can be used as a basis for future development and an indication of what potential exists through a technology shift. The main conclusions are:

  • The electric powertrains used about half as much energy as conventional tractors
  • That an electrification of field tractors can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65-81 percent (batteries) and 53-92 percent (fuel cells). Using only fuels with renewable or fossil-free origins resulted in a greater reduction.
  • If Sweden’s fleet of field tractors were to be electrified, it would mean a reduction of up to 495 million kg CO2eq /year, or 2-3 percent of national transport emissions.

The report is part of Mistra Food Futures’ work to describe production systems that reduce the climate impact of agriculture. This is one of the central issues within Mistra Food Futures.


Oscar Lagnelöv, Gunnar Larsson, Anders Larsolle, Per-Anders Hansson (2022).

Download the report

Mistra Food Futures Report #10

About Mistra Food Futures

The overarching vision of the programme Mistra Food Futures is to create a science-based platform to enable transformation of the Swedish food system into one that is sustainable (in all three dimensions: environmental, economic, and social), resilient and delivers healthy diets. By taking a holistic perspective and addressing issues related to agriculture and food production, as well as processing, consumption and retail, Mistra Food Futures aims to play a key role in initiating an evidence-based sustainability (including environmental, economic, and social dimensions) and resilience transformation of the Swedish food system.