TINAJA HILLS, AZ. Caterpillar introduced the third model of its CT vocational truck line – the CT680 – here at its training and proving grounds just outside of Tucson, AZ; a 124-in. BBC vehicle that will be available in both truck and tractor configuration when it goes into full production this July.
David Schmitz, vocational truck product manager for Caterpillar, said the CT680 is a Class 8 set-forward-axle model that will be offered with the 13 liter C13 engine and a range of transmission options, including Caterpillar’s CX31 six-speed automatic, Eaton UltraShift Plus automated mechanical transmission (AMT), and several Eaton manual gearboxes as well, from 8- up to 18-speed configurations.
Schmitz (seen at right) noted that, to date, over half of the orders for the CT660 introduced in 2011 and the CT681 rolled out late last year are being spec’d with the CX31 automatic gearbox, largely as that allows the entire truck to be warrantied and serviced at one of Caterpillar’s 400 dealerships across the U.S. – offering “one stop shop” appeal, he added.
Schmitz also pointed out that Caterpillar plans to introduce a 15 liter engine option for the CT680 and for the 122-in. BBC configuration of the CT660 later this year.
Ron Schultz, Caterpillar’s sales and product support manager, noted that the company introduced glider kits for the CT660 a year ago for 1998 and 2004 C15 engines and that similar glider kits will be available for the CT680 once it goes into full production this summer.
Schmitz highlighted several other features of the new CT680 model during the press briefing, including:
- Two exterior trim levels – L and LG – are available address different style and serviceability needs, with both “comparable in pricing,” said Schultz.
- The CT680L features a three-piece Metton hood, three-piece chrome bumper and three-piece chrome stainless grille surround, as well as composite halogen headlights and incandescent park/turn lights.
- The CT680LG comes with a one-piece fiberglass hood, three-piece black bumper and integrated fiberglass grille surround, along with sealed-beam halogen headlights and LED [light emitting diode] park/turn lights.
- A dual external air cleaner option for more efficient air management in dirty, dusty applications will be available for both the CT680 truck and tractor configurations.
- Key service points such as coolant, washer reservoirs and air filters are now easier to access due to C680 design upgrades, with customers able to quickly replace headlight bulbs and windshield wiper blades without tools.
- Ratings on the C13 engine range from 410 to 475 hp, with peak torque ranging from 1,450 to 1,700 lb.-ft.
- A right-side mounted selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system with upgraded in-cylinder technology allows all three CT models to meet meets emission reduction requirements.
- The CX31 automatic, which offers six forward speeds and one reverse, comes with two side PTO [power take off locations] and an exclusive rear PTO slot.
- Drivers can choose from multiple seat options – including the Cat Comfort Seat – with the tilting, telescoping steering column and leather-wrapped steering wheel a standard feature.
- The CT680 features a curved, sloped, wraparound windshield in either a one- or two-piece design.
Schmitz noted that all the CT line trucks feature an aluminum cab that reduces chassis weight by some 200 to 400 lbs. depending on configuration while improving corrosion resistance.
He added that all the CT trucks are being built at a manufacturing facility in Escobedo, Mexico.
Schmitz also pointed out that Caterpillar “continues to monitor” the opportunity to provide natural gas power for its entire CT vocational truck line.
“Some of our customers definitely want that,” he said. “We see it as an option that we will consider in the future.”