Caterpillar upgraded its fuel-efficiency claims for the 56,700-pound D7E tractor at its official introduction, calling the innovative electric-drive machine a hybrid bulldozer for the first time. When Cat showed a D7E prototype at Conexpo 2008, spokesmen stopped short of calling it a hybrid because it doesn’t actually store electrical energy onboard, but estimated its fuel-efficiency advantage over the D7RII that it will replace at 10 to 20 percent. Now they say the machine can reduce consumption as much as 30 percent. Customers testing pre-production units since early in 2009 actually claim fuel savings in well in excess of 30 percent. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is expected to exceed that of the D7RII by 20 percent, pricing the D7E in the $600,000 range. Production begins in October, and the D7RII is expected to be phased out by mid-2010.
September 28, 2010