We examine Cat’s strategic approach to using electrification to meet customer needs.
Thanks to decades of innovation in improving engine technology, today’s cars, trucks and other vehicles are cleaner and quieter than ever. More stringent regulations worldwide are driving manufacturers to redesign products to meet more ambitious standards while addressing customer needs for better efficiency and lower fuel costs. So too are changing societal attitudes about environmental sustainability. People demand fewer emissions and less noise in the areas where they live, work and play. This explains the move toward electrification, most visible in Europe and within the automotive sector.
Caterpillar defines electrification as “making a machine, product or system operate using electricity when it did not before.” Electrification, along with high-efficiency energy conversion, is one of five key pillars in their technology strategy. Electrified equipment, in the right application, can benefit customers in each of their major industry segments through fuel savings, increased environmental sustainability, greater durability and higher productivity.
Cat’s electrification strategy begins and ends with customer needs. They are therefore not pursuing a single solution, but a versatile approach that lets them match the right product to the application. That includes:
- Fully electric products. Featuring single or multiple non-engine electric power sources, these products are best suited for environments where eliminating emissions is key — underground, indoors, urban areas and some agricultural segments.
- Diesel-electric products. Connecting an engine to an electric generator, AC drive motor or other source of electric power, these products are ideal for operations where using less fuel is a priority. Cat’s D7E dozer, which first went to work in 2009, features a diesel-electric powertrain that delivers up to 30% better fuel efficiency. Other examples of diesel-electric products include the 794 AC and 795F AC electric drive trucks and Electro-Motive locomotives.
- Hybrid products. Working alongside an engine, numerous other power sources — batteries, tethered or cable-powered electric systems, hydraulic accumulators, high-speed flywheels — can reduce emissions and improve efficiency. Source