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"I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander."
- Isaac Asimov

Electric Tractor  
  A farm cultivator that runs entirely on electricity.  

I don't know of an earlier reference for an electric tractor.

As Tom gazed across the thirty acres of gardens on the roof of the huge building, his mind went back over events. A small electric tractor was working at the far side, and a slight hum could be heard from where he sat. He would have to send it to the shop for repairs. That hum didnít sound healthy.
Technovelgy from World of Purple Light, by Warner Van Lorne.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
Additional resources -

The earliest electric-powered tractor that I can find was created in the 1940's in the Soviet Union, and they seemed to be quite popular.

The earliest use appears to have been a kind of electric plough, created in 1894:

Probably the first attempt to use electricity to power field equipment was in 1894, when the Zimmermann company in Germany demonstrated its self-propelled electric ploughs.

There were two versions, one with a 10hp motor turning two furrows and a four-furrow version that used a 16hp motor.

The 16hp plough received its electricity through an overhead cable from a mains supply, but the 10hp version was linked to a steam-powered generator on the headland.

The electric motor on both ploughs powered spur gears that pulled the plough by meshing with the links in a chain stretched across the field and anchored at both ends.

After crossing the field, the plough plus the chain and the anchor points had to be moved the correct distance, ready for the return journey, and another frequent task was moving the supports that carried the power supply cable above the soil surface and out of contact with the plough bodies.

(Via Farmer's Weekly)

Compare to the automatic cultivators from Piracy Preferred (1930) by John W. Campbell, the conscious farm machines from The Hidden Colony (1935) by Otfrid von Hanstein, the robot farmer from The Turning Wheel (1954) by Philip K. Dick, the field minder from Who Can Replace A Man (1963) by Brian Aldiss, the Robomule from Bill the Galactic Hero (1965) by Harry Harrison, the self-guided tractor from At the Bottom of a Hole (1966) by Larry Niven and the agricultural robot pest controller from Runaway (1985) by Michael Crichton.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from World of Purple Light
  More Ideas and Technology by Warner Van Lorne
  Tech news articles related to World of Purple Light
  Tech news articles related to works by Warner Van Lorne

Electric Tractor-related news articles:
  - MK-V Smart Tractor - Fully Electric, Farmer Optional

Articles related to Agriculture
MK-V Smart Tractor - Fully Electric, Farmer Optional
Vertical Farm In Singapore's Output Is 1.5 Tons Per Day
Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead

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