John Deere powered its largest loader, the 944K Hybrid wheel loader, through four independent, electric wheel motors and electronic traction control in an effort to control wheel slip and cap tire costs. Deere calls the machine's fuel savings "significant," claiming as much as 30% fuel-economy improvement over competitive 9-cu.-yd. loaders with conventional drivetrains and Tier 3 engines. The hybrid-electric drive recaptures energy while slowing the loader when the operator lets off the accelerator, as in direction changes. During braking, the wheel motors actually generate electric energy that the hydraulics and other systems can use, saving additional fuel. The engine can run in Normal Mode, limiting speed range to 1,200 to 1,800 rpm for maximum fuel efficiency, or in Performance Mode at a constant speed for faster, more powerful boom and bucket functions.
- Brushless AC generators and motors, water-cooled brake resistors and solid-state power electronics
- Wheel-motor life is designed to match frame life
- Standard traction control automatically limits torque to any wheel when slippage occurs, increasing machine traction in poor underfoot conditions
- Includes enhanced rimpull control, coast control to reduce service-brake wear and functions such as dynamic braking
- 536-hp PowerTech Tier 4 Interim diesel engine
- 12-ft. bucket width and breakout force of 103,388 lbs.
- No transmission shifting or clutches to engage enable smooth direction changes and less spillage
- 108 dB, noise level outside the machine and cab noise of only 72 dB
- Joystick steering delivers smooth, low-effort control