Temperature-controlled transport specialist Bedworth Haulage is reporting weekly savings on its fuel bill of up to £190 per unit from its latest Mercedes-Benz tractor units, compared to the Swedish-built trucks that form the backbone of its fleet.
The Coventry-based operator says the four Actros 2551s are returning 10.5 mpg and more, which puts them some two miles per gallon ahead of their main competitor.
“And that’s after just three months on the road!” declared Ian Thacker, whose father Robbie owns the business. “I’d like to think that as they loosen up the fuel figures will get even better.”
Supplied by Midlands Truck & Van, the Actros are powered by ultra-efficient, second-generation 375 kW (510 hp) engines and additionally fitted with fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control systems, on which the Dealer has delivered driver-training.
The eye-catching yellow and red scheme adorning their range-topping GigaSpace cabs is enhanced by roof-mounted light bars and chrome highlights, while their luxurious interiors include leather upholstery and fridges.
Bedworth Haulage runs a fleet of 34 top-weight tractor units in which three other brands are also represented. The line-up includes five other Actros GigaSpace models, all with Euro V engines. The first of these, also a 2551, entered service early in 2013, and was followed later that year by a quartet of 330 kW (450 hp) Actros 2545 variants.
Mr Thacker continued: “The big disparity in fuel efficiency is partly explained by the fact that while our Mercedes-Benz trucks are powered by 12.8-litre straight-six engines, the majority of our Swedish trucks have big V8s.
“Even allowing for this, though, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Actros is the most economical truck on the market right now… and by a wide margin! That’s particularly true of the latest versions. Our Euro V Actros have always been comfortably ahead of the rest, but with these second-generation Euro VI models Mercedes-Benz has raised its game by another big notch.
“The new Actros are returning mid-tens and even as much as 11 mpg, which represents an extra half a mile per gallon or so over their predecessors. Fuel is our biggest expense. Our trucks typically cover 3,000 km a week and the total bill for last week alone was £33,000, so savings of this magnitude are very welcome.”
Bedworth Haulage’s tractor units pull temperature-controlled semi-trailers by Gray & Adams, a number of which incorporate special features designed to ensure that fish and shellfish reaches its destination in peak condition.
Mr Thacker explained: “Over recent years we have built excellent working relationships with other hauliers in the north of Scotland and as a result this part of our operation has been growing particularly strongly.
“Ensuring that the product does not stop is crucial so our trucks are running constantly up to Inverness and the nearby ports, collecting fish which we then transport down to London, as well as to France and Spain.”
The optional Predictive Powertrain Control system as specified on Bedworth Haulage’s latest Actros employs digital 3D mapping and GPS data to scan the road ahead. Armed with this information it manages gear changes and vehicle speed, making full use of the truck’s EcoRoll function to restrict diesel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The operator is also an enthusiastic proponent of Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard telematics, which it fits not only to its Actros but also to other makes of truck. “FleetBoard is very simple to use and provides a wealth of invaluable data not only on the vehicle itself, but also on the way it’s being driven,” observed Mr Thacker.
“Despite a bit of early reticence on the part of one or two, our drivers have also really taken to the Actros. The truck is very comfortable and the GigaSpace cab is a superb bit of kit, a great environment in which to live as well as work.”
Bedworth Haulage’s latest Actros are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services operating lease arranged by Midlands Truck & Van. “The deal was competitively priced and allows us to get the trucks inspected and serviced anywhere within the manufacturer’s official Network,” added Mr Thacker.
Founded in 1970, Bedworth Haulage was running a handful of trucks when it was purchased in 2006 by former driver Robbie Thacker. In additional to its temperature-controlled transport operations, which also include pharmaceuticals, it offers a high-value logistics service, warehousing, cross docking, heat treatment services, and repairs and maintains trailers in its own workshop.