The US agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere has acquired a majority stake in the Austrian eMobility specialist Kreisel Electric. Kreisel will continue to operate under its own name, but John Deere has secured access to the Austrian company’s battery and charging technology.
The stake will allow John Deere to integrate vehicle and powertrain designs based on high-density battery packs and use Kreisel’s charging technology to build infrastructure, according to the Austrian company. Exactly how many shares John Deere will take over and how much the Americans will pay for them is not disclosed in the announcement.
Kreisel Electric will retain its current workforce of around 160 employees, its brand name and trademark and will continue to operate from its current location in Austria. The transaction is subject to final regulatory approval in Austria and is expected to close in approximately 60 days.
John Deere cites the growing demand for battery-electric or hybrid drive systems for vehicles as the reason for the investment. This does not necessarily involve large agricultural machinery, but Deere products such as lawn mowers, compact municipal tractors, small tractors, compact construction equipment and some road construction equipment “could rely exclusively on batteries as their primary power source”, according to the statement.
“Kreisel’s battery technology can be applied across the broad portfolio of Deere products, and Kreisel’s in-market experience will benefit Deere as we ramp up our battery-electric vehicle portfolio,” said Pierre Guyot, senior vice president, John Deere Power Systems. “Deere will provide the expertise, global footprint, and funding to enable Kreisel to continue its fast growth in core markets.”
The three founders, Johann, Markus and Philipp Kreisel, said in a joint statement that the Kreisel team was looking forward to “growing its base business, leveraging Deere’s distribution channel to accelerate the adoption of battery electric vehicles and charging stations, and working with Deere’s vehicle development teams on product enhancements.”
Founded in 2014, the company has built a global customer base with its battery technology and battery-buffered charging stations. In addition to commercial and off-highway vehicles, these customers come from marine, e-motorsport and other high-performance applications. It is not clear from the announcement whether Kreisel will continue to serve these customers, which have nothing to do with John Deere’s business.
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