Caterpillar Inc. CEO-elect Douglas R. Oberhelman (pictured, at left) on Dec. 22 handed over the keys to the world’s first diesel-electric bulldozer—specially gift-wrapped with a bright red bow—to Dan Klingberg (right), president of Joliet, Ill.-based T.J. Lambrecht Construction Co. Now in full production, the machine made its debut inside Cat’s East Peoria, Ill., tractor plant. The new D7E is the result of 10 years of research and development and 100 new patents. The D7E prototypes were put through more than 70,000 hours of lab and field tests, say CAT officials. The machine costs about $600,000, a 20% premium over a non-hybrid tractor, but Cat claims it increases fuel efficiency by 25% and pays for itself in about 2½ years. T.J. Lambrecht tried out a pre-production model this summer for an airfield expansion contract at O’Hare International Airport, where the D7E demonstrated fuel savings of 25% to 30%. “It goes right to the bottom line,” said Klingberg.

Cat Hands Over the Keys for Its First Hybrid Bulldozer
Photo: Tudor Van Hampton / ENR