MOLINE, Ill. Dec. 14, 2021 — Deere & Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire majority ownership in Kreisel Electric, a battery technology provider based in Rainbach im Mühlkreis, Austria. Kreisel develops high-density, high-durability electric battery modules and packs. Additionally, Kreisel has developed a charging infrastructure platform (CHIMERO) that utilizes this patented battery technology.
Since 2014, Kreisel has been a leading innovator focused on the development of immersion-cooled electric battery modules and packs for high-performance and off-highway applications. The company has a differentiated battery technology and battery-buffered charging infrastructure offering and currently serves a global customer base across multiple end markets, including commercial vehicles, off-highway vehicles, marine, e-motorsports and other high-performance applications.
According to an email from Mig Dobre, senior research analyst at Baird, the goal of Kreisel's founders is to provide superior battery technology to rival Tesla performance. Since 2014, the team has implemented over 150 successful projects, partnering with the likes of Porsche and Shell. The company's origins are in designing retrofit packs for electric car conversions (Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly a fan, having had both a Mercedes G-Wagon and a Hummer converted to electric with Kreisel batteries), but it has rapidly expanded into large-scale production of battery packs.
John Deere sees demand growing for batteries as a sole- or hybrid-propulsion system for off-highway vehicles. Products in Deere's portfolio such as turf equipment, compact utility tractors, small tractors, compact construction and some road building equipment could rely solely on batteries as a primary power source. Deere intends to continue to invest in and develop technologies to innovate, deliver value to customers and work towards a future with zero emissions propulsion systems.
The majority investment in Kreisel Electric will allow Deere to optimally integrate vehicle and powertrain designs around high-density battery packs while leveraging Kreisel's charging technology to build out infrastructure required for customer adoption. Dobre says the investment pairs well with Deere's acquisition of Bear Flag Technologies earlier this year, building out Deere's capabilities while accelerating its path toward a fully electric, autonomous fleet.
"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. Deere will provide the expertise, global footprint, and funding to enable Kreisel to continue its fast growth in core markets," said, senior vice president of John Deere Power Systems. "This is an opportunity to invest in a company with unique technology that's designed for the demanding conditions where Deere customers work.
"Furthermore, building an electrified portfolio is key to John Deere's sustainability goal of pursuing new technologies that reduce the environmental impact of new products and work toward zero emissions propulsion systems on equipment, while increasing our customers' efficiency and productivity."
Dobre says the pace of technology investment is accelerating, and next-gen offerings have the potential to extend the ag replacement cycle beyond 2025 with Deere’s consolidating its leadership position. Demand for batteries as a sole or hybrid propulsion system is growing among DE’s off-highway customers as sustainability goals couple with rising fuel costs.
"The Kreisel acquisition adds a proven electrification technology that Deere can continue to build on, with integration of high-density battery packs into Deere’s portfolio of vehicles a key step in moving toward zero emissions equipment," Dobre says.
Kreisel Electric will retain its employees, brand name and trademark, and continue to operate from its current location in Austria to serve its growing customer base. The company was founded by brothers Johann, Markus and Philipp Kreisel, and has approximately 160 full-time employees.
In a joint statement, Johann, Markus, and Philipp Kreisel said the Kreisel team looks forward to expanding its base business, leveraging the Deere channel to accelerate adoption of battery-electric vehicles and charging stations, and working with Deere's vehicle design teams on product advancements.
The transaction requires final regulatory approval in Austria, with closing expected to take place in approximately 60 days. Financial details are not being disclosed.