Caterpillar unveils first hybrid excavator

Economy conscious Caterpillar's first hybrid excavator

A photo of the new 336E H hybrid excavator released by Caterpillar.
A photo of the new 336E H hybrid excavator released by Caterpillar.


Caterpillar has unveiled its first construction hybrid excavator machine, the Cat 336EH, at its plant in Peoria, Illinois. The machine is equipped with a hydraulic "hybrid swing system", which captures the excavator’s upper structure swing brake energy in accumulators, and then releases the energy during swing acceleration.

According to Caterpillar, “A hybrid is independent of any particular technology—it doesn’t have to be electric,” said Ken Gray, global product manager for large hydraulic excavators for Caterpillar’s excavation division.

Previously, tests by Caterpillar of electric hybrid excavators it had designed and built would not result in lower owning and operating costs.

"Until now we had not found a hybrid approach that would actually lower our customers’ owning and operating costs,” Gray said.

The 336E H will use up to 25 percent less fuel compared to a standard 336E, and up to 33 percent less fuel than the 330/336D.

The company believes that based on the current high costs of fuel and depending on usage, a buyer of a Cat 336E H could "realistically expect to see a return on their investment for the hybrid excavator model in as little as one year".

"The new 336E H hybrid uses as much as 25 percent less fuel than the standard 336E, without sacrificing performance. No other hybrid machine in its class in the market can achieve these dramatic savings. Since fuel is one of the largest operating costs for our customers in general, quarry and heavy construction applications, this is a technology that directly improves their bottom lines,” said Gary Stampanato, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the excavation division.

The machine will be officially launched at bauma 2013 in Munich. The company will begin taking orders in February, and the machine will ship in March.

The 336E H is powered by a Tier 4 Interim/Stage IIIB and so will not be available in the Middle East, due to current diesel quality.


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