A triumphant mpg performance from a New Actros demonstration unit was instrumental in helping Belfast Dealer Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI) to land a prestigious order from Co. Armagh-based Carna Transport.
The high-profile operator, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in business last year, sent the truck with the three-pointed star into a head-to-head fuel efficiency shootout against a similarly-specified vehicle from another manufacturer.
Both were put to work on long-distance Continental haulage runs at up to 40 tonnes gcw over several weeks, the New Actros coming out on top by a clear margin with an average return of 11.4 mpg. Now Carna Transport is looking forward to an equally impressive performance from the three New Actros 1845 tractors it has just put into service.
Powered by 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines, all have range-topping, flat-floored GigaSpace cabs and are equipped with Daimler FleetBoard telematics hardware, as well as Mercedes-Benz Predictive Powertrain Control technology.
PPC is a clever cruise control that employs 3D GPS mapping to read three kilometres of topography ahead, then responds by controlling speed, braking and the transmission to maximise fuel efficiency. The easy-to-operate system is optionally available on all New Actros models at a cost of £1,349 or, if specified as part of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire package, for just £2.50 a week – equivalent to the price of a cup of coffee.
PPC really comes into its own when the vehicle is travelling up or down hills. It makes maximum use of the truck’s standard-fit EcoRoll function on downhills, and applies carefully judged single or double downshifts of gear at an early stage. Mercedes-Benz says the "far-sighted" system reduces fuel use by approximately five per cent, although some operators are reporting even bigger savings.
General Manager Robert Heavin says: "Our decision to invest in these vehicles was very much influenced by the excellent fuel returns we achieved with the demonstrator – if we continue to hit figures like that we’ll be very happy.
"But that’s not all we looked at. Our trucks travel as far afield as Romania and Sicily, so we also place a high priority on effective back-up and comfortable, spacious cabs.
"Mercedes-Benz offers full 24-hour assistance across Europe, while the GigaSpace cabs are very well designed, with masses of storage space and a real quality feel. It’s no surprise that our drivers are delighted with their New Actros."
Carna Transport runs a fleet of 118 trucks – it has operated Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the past but these are its first from the New Actros range. The company provides both refrigerated and dry freight transport services to a wide range of clients, including leading names in the computer, pharmaceutical and fast-moving consumer goods sectors.
Neil McKibbin, Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI) Managing Director, adds: "Carna Transport is one of the best-known names in the Northern Ireland transport industry and we’re delighted to have won this important order. It’s a testament not only to the quality of our vehicles but also to the hard work put in by sales executive Roy Owens, which has included comprehensive familiarisation sessions to help the company’s drivers get the best out of their new trucks."