DEERFIELD – More than 40 years after unveiling a radical new bulldozer design that re-imagined a critical drive system, Caterpillar Inc. is introducing an unprecedented element that won’t be as noticeable on the outside but should be seen in dramatically reduced fuel consumption.
The decades-old redesign debuted the elevated sprocket – elevating the system that drives the tracks, resulting in the now ubiquitous triangular outline – while one model of a new line introduced Tuesday adds an electric drive to that elevated system.
The company calls the D6 XE the world’s first high drive electric drive dozer and claims an improvement in fuel efficiency of up to 35 percent over the model it replaces.
Cat estimated the additional cost for the electric drive over a regular D6 would pay for itself in fuel savings in less than 2 years, based on dozer use of 1,500 hours per year for typical construction activity.
The baseline D6, however, also features significantly improved fuel efficiency, compared with the predecessor D6T.
The new model, with a fully automatic four-speed power shift transmission, can achieve 20 percent better fuel efficiency vs. the three-speed transmission in the D6T, according to the company.
The new D6 dozers also feature several other technology upgrades and options, with custom configurations available for a variety of applications. The factory integrated system designed to assist with grading applications additionally includes the ability to automate certain blade functions.