Mining and construction equipment supplier WesTrac has lifted the curtain on the first Caterpillar electric-drive wheel loader to hit the Australian market.

The Caterpillar 988K XE was revealed on Thursday at the WesTrac/Caterpillar Load and Haul 2019 event at the WA Bluemetal Quarries facility in Whitby, where the company’s latest equipment was put under the microscope.

Caterpillar said the electric-drive model offered 25 per cent greater overall efficiency and 10 per cent more productivity in load-and-carry applications than the standard 988K wheel loader, while helping reduce a project’s carbon footprint.

WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome said the electrification of mining and construction equipment was an emerging trend for the industry and a step on a gradual path towards a battery-powered future.

“I think in future you’re going to see more electrical components incorporated within machine design, and you can see from the 988K XE the fuel efficiency and productivity benefits that gives you,” he said.

WesTrac’s general manager for construction, Cameron Callaway, said new technology meant better monitoring.

“The ability to automate certain parts of application and automation is exciting,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily autonomy as such, but certain parts of the equipment cycle can be automated to make things easier for the operator to use.”

WesTrac is owned by Seven Group Holdings, a major shareholder in Seven West Media.


Image: WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome, The West Australian.