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Kubota's concept tractor, showcased at the company's Kubota Connect event in Grapevine, Texas. (Photo: LM Staff)

Kubota showcases its concept tractor at the company’s Kubota Connect event in Grapevine, Texas. (Photo: LM Staff)

When Kubota dealers entered the show floor at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, for the Kubota Connect event, the company’s vision of the future greeted them.

The company displayed a concept tractor in addition to a multi-step plan moving toward battery-powered equipment.

“We have to balance the past with what is to come in the future, and the future is coming at us really fast,” said Todd Stucke, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Kubota North America.

Kubota's all-electric prototype Z2E ride-on zero-turn mower. (Photo: LM Staff)

Kubota’s electric prototype Z2E ride-on zero-turn mower is part of what Kubota calls Phase 2 of its plan to create completely electric machines. (Photo: LM Staff)

Now in what Kubota calls Phase 1, the company plans to develop a “drop-in” electric engine to introduce drive-by-wire and a completely electric machine with automation in the future.

Alongside a look to the future, the company offered dealers a look at the present as it showcased its newest offerings coming in 2023.

The Kubota ZD-1611 ride-on zero-turn mower (Photo: Kubota Tractor Corp.)

The Kubota ZD1611 ride-on zero-turn mower (Photo: Kubota Tractor Corp.)

Upgraded mower power

On the turf side, Kubota announced new additions to its ZD zero-turn mower line with the ZD1611. The company says the machine will have a new common-rail engine, engine monitor and tie-downs and will be available at dealerships in January.

“In addition to the engine, we did put a bit of a creature comfort in this as well,” said Tom Vachal, senior product manager for turf at Kubota. “We put a 12V outlet that allows the operator to charge devices, or maybe they’re using a 12V air compressor away from their shop.”

The ZD1611 is, according to Vachal, manufactured at Kubota’s Gainesville, Ga., plant, where the company makes several other turf products.

Kubota also improved the mower’s LCD screen, to which the company added more features, according to Michael Gryp, product marketing director for turf and RTVs at Kubota.

“The key is operator experience and operator comfort,” Gryp said. “You’ve got this monitor with the gauges and the key information so the customer can see that whether it’s fuel, whether it’s the regeneration process or particulate matter, the operator knows what’s going on with that machine by looking at that monitor.”

Kubota also announced a new model of its Sidekick RTV, which the company says features a Kubota engine with redesigned throttle. Also announced is a special stone gray edition of the Sidekick, which comes with 16 accessories, ranging from an electric bed dump to LED headlights.

Kubota's SVL-735 track loader (Photo: LM Staff)

Kubota’s SVL-735 track loader (Photo: LM Staff)

Construction equipment safety

A common theme across all equipment showcased at the event was operator comfort and ease of use.

The company’s new compact track loader, the SVL75-3 — set to launch in March 2023 — features a 7-inch touchscreen monitor, a one-piece cab for easy maintenance and a backup camera.

“This machine has a one-piece cab that’s all new to this unit; it keeps the dust out of the cab, so the operator’s not having to deal with that,” said Tom Turner, product operations manager of construction equipment for Kubota. “It offers great accessibility for service; it’s another operator and technician-focused feature. There’s plenty of room for people to sit down (and perform maintenance).”

Turner also says the machine has enhanced safety features, like the ability to set a password on the touchscreen monitor that the operator must enter before the SVL75-3 will start.

LM Associate Editor Rob DiFranco tests Kubota's KX030-4 compact excavator at the Kubota Connect event in Grapevine, Texas. (Photo: LM Staff)

LM Associate Editor Rob DiFranco tests Kubota’s KX030-4 compact excavator at the Kubota Connect event in Grapevine, Texas. (Photo: LM Staff)

Kubota also showcased its new KX030-4 compact excavator, which will replace the KX71-3S. The company says a newly expanded cab offers easier access to the diverter valve and 3rd line return.

A new partnership

The company announced an agreement with Titan International on select sizes of the company’s Trac Loader II tires for compact and utility tractor models.

The new tire will feature both the Titan and Kubota logos. Kubota says the tire offers users the right balance between turf tires and the heavier-duty tires one might see on the company’s agricultural offerings.

Rob DiFranco

About the Author:

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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