The first Mercedes-Benz Econic refuse trucks to be fitted as standard with ultra-clean EEV engines have now entered service in the London borough of Camden.
Leading recycling and waste management specialist Veolia Environmental Services ordered the 39 vehicles after winning a seven-year extension to its existing, high-profile contract with Camden Council.
Supplied by Warrington dealer Enza, they are all 6×2 Econic 2629LL models with rear-steer axles and Geesink Norba compactor bodies. Power is provided by the six-cylinder 210kW (286hp) OM 906 LA engine.
They are the first units be delivered since Mercedes-Benz decided to equip its hugely successful municipal chassis range with engines that meet the stringent – but voluntary – EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) emissions standard. In EEV trim the Econic will contribute to improved air quality by further reducing regulated emissions compared to Euro 5 models.
Veolia Fleet Director Rob Stubbs said: "Environmental issues are invariably at the top of the agenda. We are keen, therefore, to do everything possible to improve our emissions profile, and the clean, ‘green’ EEV-engined Econic is certainly going to play a significant role in helping us to achieve this goal."
The Mercedes-Benz Econic runs on full air suspension. Not only does this feature make it very quiet in operation, it also allows for the integration with the suspension airbags of an axle-load indicator system – "That’s a big plus," explained Mr Stubbs, "because it means we don’t have to buy and retrofit a third-party product, and thus ensures the fleet is fully compliant."
The Camden units are additionally equipped with SafetyStop aids by Sentinel Systems, of Cirencester, which apply a vehicle’s brakes automatically should an obstacle come within range of its sensors while reversing.
Veolia Environmental Services operates a fleet of around 3500 trucks, some 40 per cent of which wear three-pointed stars. But, confirmed Mr Stubbs: "The majority of trucks we now buy are Mercedes-Benz."
The company played a key role in the development of the low-entry Econic chassis and operates nearly 500 in the UK alone, most of which are used for domestic refuse collections.
Mr Stubbs added: "We have an excellent relationship with Enza’s Truck Sales Manager Clive Wainwright and his colleagues, who understand our requirements and provide a very good service.
"The latest 39 trucks were built and delivered with 20 weeks of the initial conversation in which we placed the order. This represented a significant logistical challenge for all of those involved but it was one to which they rose, which was no mean achievement."
Veolia’s new contract with Camden Council covers waste collection, recycling and street cleansing. The authority will save £2.5 million under the new deal, with further enhancements to the recycling service now under consideration – Camden’s residents are already among the most environmentally aware in London, recycling 28 per cent of their waste.
Jean-Dominique Mallet, Veolia’s Chief Executive Officer for the UK & Ireland, said: "We are overjoyed to have retained one of the most important contracts in our portfolio. Now the onus is on us to deliver on our promises and we look forward to continuing our excellent working partnership with Camden Council in providing an even more improved service to the borough’s residents."