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Caterpillar announces upgraded technology for high-powered vehicle: 'A system that anticipates the increasing requirements ... without sacrificing productivity'

"Our customers have an intense, compressed timeline for harvesting."

"Our customers have an intense, compressed timeline for harvesting."

Photo Credit: iStock

Caterpillar is making more strides in electrifying agricultural equipment by developing a battery-powered nut harvester in California.

Electrek reported in January that the major equipment manufacturer is teaming up with local Cat dealer Holt of California and the nut-harvesting manufacturer Flory Industries to create a 600-volt battery-powered nut harvester, also known as a field elevator. The machine will replace a 74-horsepower Cat C2.8 diesel.

"Our customers have an intense, compressed timeline for harvesting, and they expect our machinery to work as hard as they do," said Todd Wille, the president and COO of Flory, in a statement. "... [This is] a system that anticipates the increasing requirements for lower-carbon applications in agriculture without sacrificing productivity."

The equipment is scheduled to begin prototype field testing by the end of 2024's second quarter, while pilot units will roll out in 2025 before full production starts in 2026.

Said David Leinfelder, the industrial engine sales engineer at Holt of California, of the partnership with Flory: "We share a common culture that prioritizes engineering excellence and customer service, which makes Flory ideal for demonstrating Caterpillar's first battery application with a third-party OEM."

The electrification of agricultural equipment is a definite plus in our journey toward a cleaner future. Heavy-duty equipment typically runs on diesel and has ridiculously low energy efficiency — around 20%, according to Cadeo

Meanwhile, electric versions of similar vehicles can use a whopping 85% less energy to do the same amount of work. And since electric power is generally far cheaper than diesel or gasoline, the electrification of these vehicles is a win for farmers' budgets, too.

Other promising electrification efforts of heavy-duty vehicles include electric construction cranes, harbor cranes, and straddle carriers.

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