Cat Creeping Closer To Electric Drive Trucks?
With a launch at MinExpo scheduled for next year, Caterpillar is apparently moving closer to introducing electric drive mine haul trucks. An AP report says Cat will start showing prototype trucks to customers later this year and some will be operating on a test basis as designs are finalized.
As reported in May 2006 Diesel Progress North American, Cat said it was moving towards ac electric drives for its off-highway trucks which are developed together with Mitsubishi Electric Corp. As we reported last May, Cat has installed an electric drive system on its 380 ton model 797 truck for testing and two other trucks above the 200 ton range were also targeted as pilot vehicles.
Mitsubishi, which produces ac drives for rail use, is providing the power conversion for the assembly with semiconductors and other inverter components. Cat said it would produce, or source, the alternator, planetaries, ac wheel motors, voltage regulators, controls and hardware for the drivetrain, which will obviously start with a Cat diesel engine.