Performance Projects has developed a system to convert farm machinery into electric vehicles
By Diego Flammini
The speed of the vehicles Chris Horton typically works on may have slowed down, but that doesn’t stop the drive for innovation.
Horton is the co-founder of Performance Projects, a UK-based company that has developed a system to convert tractors and other farm machinery into electric vehicles.
“We are the driveline, we are the bit that drives the vehicle forward,” he told Farms.com. “We’re the electric motor, the gearbox and the motor control all in one hub.”
The existing driveshaft, gearbox and other related equipment in the tractor, sprayer or other piece of machinery, would have to be removed.
Because of this, Horton’s system, called OxDrive, is targeted towards equipment manufacturers.
“We’re really interested in hearing from people who have an interest in this because we can help them,” Horton said. “It’s mutually beneficial because we’re trying to take the pain away from where people don’t want to go, and we have the knowledge to help manufacturers.”
If a tractor customer, for example, wanted the tractor to be an electric vehicle, the manufacturer would install OxDrive’s components on the equipment.
“You give it some power, you give it some communication and it does everything,” Horton said. “You can have movement and control as part of the platform, it just depends on what the customer wants.”
Prior to starting Performance Projects, Horton spent his time near vehicles averaging speeds of between 200-220 mph (322-354 km/h).
He served as the head of track support for Cosworth’s Formula One team, where his responsibilities included the complete setup and rollout of the team’s Formula One engine track support program.
“I provided engines and powertrain to five different F1 teams,” he said. “We were busy developing powertrain engines and electronics. My colleague, Terence Goad, who is the CTO at Performance Projects, went to Toyota in Germany and was involved in their future technologies group. He was tasked all the things that might make the car go a lot quicker in the next generation.”