The first Mercedes-Benz trucks to wear the colours of Hull-based Cool Solutions are returning an extra mile per gallon, compared to its fleet average.
The temperature-controlled distribution and hazardous load specialist has commissioned 17 Actros 2545 tractor units with BigSpace cabs, and was so impressed that it quickly returned to Dealer Northside Truck & Van with an order for 10 more.
Cool Solutions, which also has depots at Birtley, Tyne & Wear, and Ostend, in Belgium, ordered its first Actros after trialling one of the Dealer’s demonstrators. “It turned in a very good fuel performance and was well received by our drivers,” recalled Director Trevor Underwood. “Returns from our previous vehicles have been around the 9 mpg mark, but our first Actros are already up to 10 mpg.
“At around 21-22 litres per week, they are also consuming roughly half as much AdBlue as our Euro V units, while a Euro VI vehicle by another manufacturer uses 60-70 litres over the same period. Given that each of our 40 tractors typically covers 80,000 miles per year, the potential savings in both diesel and AdBlue are huge.”
Cool Solutions offers transport services across Europe but its Actros are now working mainly in the UK, from ports across the country, delivering dry freight loads in curtainside trailers.
The company celebrates its 15th anniversary on 1st November and one of its latest vehicles wears a special livery to commemorate this milestone – it is piloted by longest-serving staff member Gary Robinson, who joined on the day the business was established, in 1999. Meanwhile, the remaining new trucks are adorned with a reference to Hull’s success in being named City of Culture 2017.
The 330 kW (449 hp) Actros are fitted with optional Mercedes-Benz Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) systems. 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. It 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.
The “far-sighted” system really comes into its own when the vehicle is travelling up or down hills – on downward slopes it makes maximum use of the truck’s standard-fit EcoRoll function and applies carefully judged single or double downshifts of gear at an early stage. Mercedes-Benz says PPC reduces fuel use by approximately 5%, although some operators are reporting even bigger savings.
The new trucks are subjects of CharterWay contract hire packages from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, which include full repair and maintenance cover. “The rates are competitive and the service team at Northside look after us very well, working on our vehicles outside our own operating hours to keep downtime to an absolute minimum,” added Mr Underwood.
As well as excelling in terms of fuel efficiency, operating costs and driver comfort, Mercedes-Benz Trucks lead the field in terms of safety. Their standard-fit armoury of active and passive equipment includes an electropneumatic brake system (EPB) incorporating anti-lock braking (ABS) and anti-slip regulation (ASR), which brakes each wheel individually to make the most of available grip and minimise stopping distances.
EPB includes secondary braking – whether by engine brake or retarder – to further improve safety and reduce wear, while in the event of emergency braking the system automatically activates the hazard warning lights to warn following traffic, winning vital extra seconds that could help to prevent an accident. Other standard safety features include Stability Control Assist, a rain and light sensor and a seat-belt monitor.