Since the introduction of the Cat® 336 E H Hybrid Excavator last year, our dealers have spent some time talking with customers about the machine and its technology. Here’s some of the most common questions and comments from our customers:
What’s more efficient – electric or hydraulic hybrid technology?
Most electric hybrids require extra cooling systems to keep electronics cool. That’s because there are inefficiencies in transforming energy between hydraulics and electrics. The simple approach of the Cat hydraulic hybrid system is right at home on a hydraulic excavator. There is no loss of efficiency and no special cooling needed. In fact, the high efficiency of Caterpillar’s Conserve, Optimize, and Reuse hybrid approach reduces fuel consumption and cooling demands.
Will the Cat hybrid only save fuel on swing intensive jobs?
Applications that do not require swing will see tremendous reductions in fuel consumption—up to 25 percent or more in some cases. The reason is simple: Engine rpm is significantly lower than our standard model, and a larger displacement, electronically controlled pump is used to compensate. Add in the Cat ACS main valve, the “brain” that directs flow precisely where it needs to go when it needs to go there, and you have a hybrid system that conserves fuel, optimizes performance, and reuses energy at all times—regardless of application. Plus other fuel-saving features like auto engine idle shutdown and auto engine speed control on the standard 336E are also on the 336E H Hybrid to help lower operating costs.
The technology seems complex and costly.
The 336E H Hybrid is not like any other hybrid technology available today. Its hydraulic hybrid technology puts as much power to the ground as our standard 36-ton machine, and it doesn’t involve any costly or complex components used in other hybrid technologies. In fact, we use our standard hydraulic components that have been proven over many years; this means we can take advantage of the economy of scale across our full product line to keep costs down for our customers.
How long will it take to see payback?
The 336E H Hybrid does carry a higher initial price than our standard 336E, but you can expect to pay that off in short order with fuel savings up to 25 percent. Depending on fuel price and application, many will see a payback in as little as a year.
What’s the impact on the environment with this machine?
The 336E H Hybrid reduces fuel consumption by up to 25 percent. This translates up to 66 tons less CO2 produced than our standard 336E over the course of a year and is equivalent to taking 24 hybrid cars off the road. Plus the fuel savings gained from the 336E H Hybrid more than make up for any incremental manufacturing cost. Finally, the 336E H Hybrid is more than 98 percent recyclable—just like the standard 336E.
How does the styling of this machine compare to standard excavators?
Not all hybrids are created equal in terms of looks or performance. The 336E H Hybrid looks as sleek and as smooth as our standard 336E model. Plus you won’t have to look over your shoulder because the machine comes equipped with a standard rearview camera.
Since it’s a hybrid, it’s supposed to be quieter than a standard machine, right?
The 336E H Hybrid runs like a standard machine. The only difference is how quiet it is. With a reduced engine rpm and other unique design features, the 336E H Hybrid is extremely quiet. In fact, sound inside of the cab is only 69 dB. To put that in perspective, your typical hair dryer and vacuum cleaner at home run at 70 dB.
Will I get the same performance out of this machine?
The 336E H Hybrid proved to be just as fast and productive as our standard 336E machine in head-to-head testing.
Will I need special oil?
The 336E H Hybrid neither uses nor needs any special oil to be more fuel efficient.
Will the hybrid hold up as long as the standard machine?
The 336E H Hybrid is built to the same engineering design standards with similar time-proven components used on other Cat products. With proper use and maintenance, the 336E H Hybrid will give customers a long and rewarding service life.
Will I really see that much of a difference in fuel savings?
The 336E H Hybrid, with its hydraulic technology, is extremely efficient. It will move the same amount of material as our standard 336E, using up to 25 percent less fuel. Many customers are reporting even greater fuel savings than that.
Hybrid technology seems like a fad.
Hydraulic hybrid technology is here to stay, and the reason is simple: It works. The Cat hybrid technology is unlike any other in that it seeks energy savings throughout the work cycle, which translates to reduced fuel consumption in any application. It is a smart system that actually helps lower operating costs without sacrificing power or productivity.