It’s definitely not a Prius. The John Deere 644K Wheel Loader is powered by a diesel engine and an on-board electric power generator. The diesel power source is a Tier 4 Interim compliant PowerTech engine with 229 hp. Perhaps this machine is setting the stage for the hybrid tractor….
The main components of the electric drive technology include: a generator that converts rotational energy from the engine into 3-phase alternating current (AC) electrical energy and uses recycled energy to drive hydraulic functions; an inverter that is water-cooled and can be used to deliver electrical energy when the operator demands it; the single electric motor, much like the generator, uses 3-phase AC electrical energy and replaces the job of the torque converter, recycling energy back into the system; and the water-cooled brake resistor only uses energy when the power electronics actively control its circuit
The company quotes a 25% reduction it the amount of fuel used by the hybrid machine compared with a traditional machine. Another side benefit is reduced noise.
Here’s a video from the company with operator reactions to running the hybrid wheel loader:
And click here for the John Deere web page about the machine.