Caterpillar unveils electric drive loader with 25% greater efficiency

Caterpillar launches the 988K XE, which delivers greater overall efficiency and up to 10% more productivity in load-and-carry applications, and recommends it for lower fuel costs

The Cat 988K XE's electric drive technology lowers maintenance costs and increases engine life expectancy.
The Cat 988K XE's electric drive technology lowers maintenance costs and increases engine life expectancy.

Caterpillar has rolled out its first electric drive loader, the Cat 988K XE, which it claims delivers 25% greater overall efficiency and up to 10% more productivity in load-and-carry applications compared with the 988K loader.

The Cat 988K XE’s C18 ACERT diesel engine provides power to an electric generator, which in turn provides power to the electric motor to drive the machine forward and in reverse. The linkage and actuation remain hydraulically operated, and are driven off the engine power.

Aside from the purported 25% increase in overall efficiency with the electric drive machine, the OEM assets that this figure can rise to as much as 49% in face-loading applications, when compared to the Cat 988K – reducing costs and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.

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As a result, Caterpillar is now recommending the use of the Cat 988K XE on all job sites where fuel efficiency represents a key consideration in the machine’s total cost of operation.

The electric drive powertrain in the Cat 988K XE also requires less routine maintenance, while the increase in the engine’s life to up to 3,500 hours in turn extends the time between powertrain rebuilds and lowers long-term maintenance costs.

The design of powertrain also uses 40% less oil and allows for oil change intervals of up to 2,000 hours.

The electric drive motor uses switched reluctance technology and has been built to be durable and to last through the second engine life with minimum maintenance.

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At the same time, the model retains all of the proven and tested elements of the conventional Cat 988K, including the engine, mechanical dropbox, driveline and axles — providing its performance boost while ensuring consistency of operation.

As with the standard Cat 988K, the XE unit can equip buckets with capacities ranging from 4.7m3 to 13m3. The rated standard and high lift payloads for the loader are 11.3 tonnes when working with face material, and 14.5 tonnes when working with loose material.

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