Caterpillar Unveils Hybrid Diesel-Electric Bulldozer

EDWARDS, Ill. (AP) -- Caterpillar Inc. is launching a line of diesel-electric hybrid bulldozers it says will improve fuel efficiency 30 percent while maintaining the power the company's customers expect.

According to Caterpillar, the D7E, which was 10 years in the making, is to go into production in East Peoria in October. Caterpillar executive David Nicoll said Tuesday the company expects the machine to reach full production by the middle of 2010.

Peoria-based Caterpillar placed 18 test hybrid tractors with customers to get feedback. Nicoll said as a result of their comments, the company has made several modifications to the D7E to keep it user friendly.

Caterpillar did not reveal the price it will charge for the bulldozer, but officials said the D7E will cost about 20 percent more than conventionally powered machines.