Hybridization: propulsion options

Hybridization is used to drive vehicle efficiency two ways. The first is about utilising the engine’s power to generate electrical energy to more effectively power various loads. The second is more traditional and is about off-loading some of the engine’s energy demands with a second power source, a battery, and using that source to run other functions traditionally tied to the engine.

Increased efficiency

Will Cross, supervisor for electrification architecture and systems engineering, said many Construction & Forestry use cases are transient in nature, making those product lines ideal for hybridization.

“Our larger equipment will continue to have internal combustion engines for the foreseeable future due to energy density, so the question is: ‘How will we reduce carbon emissions for those systems?’” Cross said. “Reducing the carbon content of the fuel itself is one important path, but we can also make our power generation and vehicle systems utilise that fuel more efficiently. We can start by electrifying vehicle systems to utilise engine power more effectively. Mechanically decoupling loads from the engine, as well as the inherent efficiency of electric drives, all contribute to improved vehicle efficiency.

“This will continue to be fundamental to many of our products across the Deere portfolio.”

C&F’s shining exaample in this conversation is its 944K loader, known for its fuel efficiency and productivity. With over a million operating hours in the field, the 944K offered an engineering and component foundation for future development that was tapped into with Deere’s newest E-Drive offering, the 850 Dozer¹.

Deere 850 Dozer

The dozer, showcased at the CONEXPO/ CON-AGG 2023, offers different modes — giving customers the choice of optimising productivity or fuel economy depending on the job. “The 850 is used in many earthmoving applications, including site development and roadbuilding,” said Kat Roberts, product manager for dozers and crawler loaders. “Deere is still in the process of validation and testing, but we are seeing improvements in both fuel efficiency and productivity over traditional machines.”

Minimising idle time

Deere can further improve efficiency and productivity by adding a secondary energy source, a battery, to help minimise machine idle time.

Led by electrification advancements and hybridization opportunities, John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) is developing technologies to turn off the engine when minimal power is needed, while still providing power to loads such as cab heating and air conditioning. This helps deliver the benefits of less fuel burned, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, retained machine value, lower operating costs due to fuel and oil consumption, and reduced hour accumulation.

This also contributes to reduced regular maintenance and repair costs overall.

The road ahead

Deere believes hybrid equipment will not only provide near-term carbon and productivity benefits, but develop Deere’s vehicle architectures to reduce alternative fuel usage and costs when they arrive. Deere will continue to aim to engineer systems that most effectively utilize engine power to provide operating cost and productivity benefits to customers.

To see the entire John Deere range, log on to deere.com.au.

 ¹ Deere, The Dirt Winter 2021, https://www.deere.com/assets/pdfs/ common/industries/construction/ publications/the-dirt-winter2021- dmag259c us.pdf (2022). 

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