Economical Euro VI Mercedes-Benz New Actros equipped with the manufacturer’s full armoury of fuel-saving technology are helping Suffolk haulier Bartrums to slash diesel consumption and exhaust emissions.
The Eye-based operator has added 20 New Actros 2545 tractors with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs to its fleet of 150 trucks. The overwhelming majority of these vehicles are 6×2 Mercedes-Benz units supplied, like the latest arrivals, by Ipswich Dealer Orwell Truck & Van.
Thirteen of Bartrums’ latest trucks are on general haulage duties but seven are specified for bulk tipper work. All are powered by state-of-the-art 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines and fitted, for optimum fuel efficiency, with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) systems as well as Daimler FleetBoard telematics.
"These are our first Euro VI trucks but we know the Mercedes-Benz technology is already well proven in operation," says Fleet Engineer David Reid. "Based on our experience of running New Actros units at Euro V we had every confidence that their fuel consumption would be very low, and so it has proved.
"The units on general haulage work are already returning 10 mpg, while the tippers are averaging 8.6 mpg and two of them are hitting the nines, which in that application is really exceptional. There’s every reason to suppose they’ll maintain this performance – we have a 13-plate Euro V Actros, our first truck with PPC, which has returned an average of 10.2 mpg from day one."
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 hill – 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 five per cent, although some operators are reporting even bigger savings.
As well as tracking a vehicle’s position and allowing the traffic office to monitor its speed and fuel performance in real time, the FleetBoard telematics system monitors driving style and produces data that can be used to coach drivers to achieve improved economy. All Bartrums’ drivers are rewarded with a fuel bonus in their pay packets for hitting or exceeding their mpg targets.
The general haulage tractors are also fitted with cab roof-mounted Freddie air deflectors matched to the 4.5-metre height of their curtainsided trailers. Manufactured by Hatcher Components and designed with the help of experts from Mercedes-Benz and Cranfield University, these have been shown to reduce fuel consumption by as much as six per cent, compared to standard air kits.
"Mercedes-Benz trucks have proved themselves to be reliable, cost-effective performers over many years in our fleet, which is why we continue to invest in them," continues Mr Reid. "The service from Orwell Truck & Van has always been first class too, and we’ve built up a very good working relationship with the dealer’s Ipswich team."
Bartrums was founded in 1929 and is now in the third generation of family ownership. Its headquarters site includes 100,000 sq ft of warehousing and its vehicles move predominantly palletised loads and agricultural produce across the whole of the UK.