The first Mercedes-Benz New Actros tractor units to wear the colours of high-profile West Country haulier RT Keedwell are delivering valuable fuel savings worth up to a mile per gallon.
The operator has ordered 100 New Actros 2545 BigSpace models from the Avonmouth branch of Dealer City West Commercials, approaching half of which are now in service.
It was only 18 months ago that RT Keedwell made its first significant investments in vehicles bearing the three-pointed star, commissioning eight 2546 MegaSpace tractors from the current Actros range.
Those vehicles quickly established themselves as the most economical on the company’s mixed-marque fleet of 400 trucks, average returns of 8.3-8.4 mpg putting them slightly ahead of their nearest rival.
But as Managing Director Stuart Keedwell confirms, the New Actros have now taken fuel efficiency into another dimension.
"Depending on who drives them our latest Mercedes are recording between 9 and 9.5 mpg," he says. "That represents a giant step forward compared to our previous Actros, so obviously we’re delighted."
He continues: "Last year’s vehicles have proved very reliable, while driver feedback has been positive from the outset. Again, though, New Actros has raised the bar – the guys like the previous model, but they prefer the latest one.
"Having attended the New Actros launch in Germany, and had the opportunity to drive both versions back to back, I understand where they’re coming from. As well as being a very modern, great looking machine, New Actros is also a significant advance from the driver’s perspective."
Mr Keedwell has been equally impressed with the performance of City West Commercials, which sends its mobile technicians to the operator’s base at Highbridge, Somerset, to undertake inspections and routine maintenance.
"City West understands what we need and provides a first class service," he says. "The fact that work is done on our own site reduces downtime and saves us the fuel we’d otherwise use sending trucks to and from the dealer’s own workshop.
"The dealer provided us with a series of demonstration models to trial before we committed to our latest order, while I’ve also been impressed with the efficient way that it is delivering our new trucks, in weekly batches of between seven and ten at a time."
RT Keedwell has acquired its New Actros with funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. All are powered by state-of-the art 330 kW (450 hp) straight-six engines mated to Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions and speed-limited, like other vehicles on the company’s fleet, to 85 kph.
All are Euro 5 models with the exception of a single Euro VI unit, yet to be delivered, which the operator is looking forward to evaluating.