Want to know what direction manufacturers are headed when it comes to alternative power? Take a look at their acquisitions and investments.
Among all the electrification buzz at CES last week, Caterpillar announced its investment in Lithos Energy, a battery technology company that produces lithium-ion battery packs.
Headquartered in San Rafael, California, Lithos specializes in designing, engineering and manufacturing shock-resistant battery solutions for off-road and marine applications.
"Caterpillar's collaboration with Lithos supports our commitment to delivering robust electrified products and solutions for our customers," said Joe Creed, group president of Caterpillar's Energy & Transportation segment. "Cat equipment – regardless of its power source – is designed to operate in the most demanding conditions. Lithos' experience manufacturing battery packs for similarly demanding environments will be an asset as we continue our electrified product development."
"We are extremely excited to be working with Caterpillar, especially at a time when the leading construction machinery and equipment manufacturer is entering a new age of efficiency and reduced-emission operation," commented James Meredith, CEO of Lithos Energy. "Caterpillar's forward thinking, commitment to electrification and leadership position on the global stage for equipment manufacturers make this an ideal match. This funding will enable Lithos to accelerate technology development and scale up manufacturing capacity as we look forward to providing increasingly advanced product offerings to our new and existing customers."
Caterpillar says its investment in Lithos further demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting customers in the energy transition with lower-carbon advanced power technologies for its hybrid and full-electric machines and power generation products.
The company recently displayed four electric construction machine prototypes, including battery prototypes, at Bauma 2022: the 320 medium electric excavator, the 950 GC medium electric wheel loader, the 301.9 electric compact excavator and the 906 electric compact wheel loader. The current prototypes are powered by Caterpillar-designed 48-volt, 300-volt and 600-volt lithium-ion batteries, which feature a modular design for flexible configuration across multiple applications, including the potential to reuse and recycle at the end of life, Cat says.
In addition, Cat recently demonstrated its first battery electric 793 large mining truck at its Tucson Proving Ground in Arizona.
Cat has committed to 100% of its new products through 2030 being more sustainable than the previous generation. While electrification is part of that equation, the company has acknowledged that it is one of many solutions needed to help customers reach their sustainability goals.