There is an increased interest for battery electric vehicles in multiple sectors, including agriculture. The potential for lowered environmental impact is one of the key factors, but there exists a knowledge gap between the environmental impact of on-road vehicles and agricultural work machinery. In this study, a life cycle assessment was performed on two smaller, self-driving battery electric tractors, and the results were compared to those of a conventional tractor for eleven midpoint characterisation factors, three damage categories and one weighted single score. The results showed that compared to the conventional tractor, the battery electric tractor had a higher impact in all categories during the production phase, with battery production being a majority contributor. However, over the entire life cycle, it had a lower impact in the weighted single score (−72%) and all three damage categories; human health (−74%), ecosystem impact (−47%) and resource scarcity (−67%). The global warming potential over the life cycle of the battery electric tractor was 102 kg CO2
compared to 293 kg CO2
for the conventional system. For the global warming potential category, the use phase was the most influential and the fuel used was the single most important factor.
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