Caterpillar is currently testing an electric-drive option for haul trucks that uses alternating-current (AC) technology. Rather than test the system using only a simulator, the company installed the AC-drive system on its 797 haul truck to measure performance. The plan is to offer the system on two models in the 150-ton-plus payload range. Specific models aren't known at this time. The AC system is meant to complement the mechanical-drive system and will be offered only when AC technology is the best solution for the customer, says the company.
The AC models use all common parts to create a fully integrated system, which Caterpillar claims differentiates its electric-drive trucks from the competitors'. With one company that manufactures and/or controls the diagnostics, components achieve 100-percent communication. The integrated system also allows Caterpillar to provide bumper-to-bumper servicing for the customer. Through collaboration with Caterpillar, Mitsubishi Electric — the leading supplier of AC technology, according to Caterpillar — will provide the power inverter. Caterpillar's 2,000- to 4,400-hp C175 ACERT engine will power the machine.