Hybrid ... backhoe? BMW and John Deere design one
10 Mars 2017 - Autoblog
Today in unexpected motorized vehicle partnerships, we have BMW and John Deere. What did they create?
Well, they designed a bright yellow backhoe that is supposed to be easier and more comfortable to use, as well as more environmentally friendly. It's also called the Fixstern Backhoe, which is a reference to the "fixed star" design process. That process involves creating a concept or idea that a company can aim toward as guidance.
We should also point out that the backhoe wasn't designed with the BMW automaker specifically, but rather the company's Designworks subsidiary. Even then, this is an odd collaboration, but the result is nifty. For the environmental requirement, the backhoe employs a hybrid powertrain, though specifics aren't provided. Many specific details were provided on the topic of user experience, though. The wheelbase is lengthened for more cabin space, and various openings are larger with fewer obstructions to aid ingress and egress. The seat and controls aren't connected to the vehicle's roll-over protection either, in an attempt to reduce vibrations.
The tires and steering are also interesting parts of the concept. The tires are airless units, which have the benefits of being smaller and immune to punctures or leaks. The tires are steered by an electric four-wheel steering system for better maneuverability. And on the topic of electronics, the backhoe has plenty of connectivity, with one of the benefits being advance notice of parts that need servicing or maintenance.
There don't seem to be any production plans for this machine. However, considering the design process, we may see some of the ideas and features appear in future John Deere machinery.