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Mercedes-Benz new Actros is the mpg champion for McCulla

26th July 2013 Print

A Mercedes-Benz New Actros left trucks from every other major manufacturer trailing in its wake in a fuel-efficiency trial staged by temperature-controlled distribution specialist McCulla (Ireland).

The result prompted the Lisburn-based company to order 10 New Actros 2545 tractors with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs from Newtownabbey dealer Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI).

The first trucks to wear McCulla’s new livery are now hard at work hauling refrigerated trailers between Ireland and Great Britain, as well as making regular runs to France, Switzerland and the Benelux countries. The operator has also ordered 10 more 6x2 StreamSpace units with the same state-of-the-art 450 hp straight-six engines for delivery next year.

Transport Director Brian Beattie says: “We trialled demonstration units from all the main manufacturers against a New Actros ‘seed’ vehicle which we’d bought from MB T&V at the end of last year – the Mercedes-Benz was the clear winner in terms of fuel efficiency.”

The trucks are usually fully loaded to 40 or 44 tonnes, and rarely run empty. He continues: “Readings from the Daimler FleetBoard telematics systems on the new vehicles tell us they are averaging well over 9 mpg, and some are consistently returning better than 10 mpg.

“With a few more miles under their belts, and with the benefit of some specialist driver training tips delivered by Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van, we confidently expect them to settle at around 9.75 mpg. Compare that to our previous fleet average of 7.25 mpg and it’s easy to see why we’re so pleased with our New Actros!”

Helping the new trucks achieve these figures is the Mercedes-Benz Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) system, specified by McCulla as an optional extra.

Predictive Powertrain Control 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. Optionally available at a cost of £1,349 on all New Actros models, the system really comes into its own when the vehicle is travelling up or down hills.

The “far-sighted” cruise control makes maximum use of the truck’s standard-fit EcoRoll function when travelling downhill, and applies carefully judged single or double downshifts of gear at an early stage. Mercedes-Benz claims the easy-to-operate system reduces fuel use by approximately five per cent.

Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI) has already delivered a short programme of instruction to McCulla’s driver-trainer; the dealer will now send its own specialist trainer to the operator’s premises for a week, to provide further support directly to drivers.

“It’s an excellent service and a good example of how the dealer has gone ‘above and beyond’ for us,” says Mr Beattie. “Sales executive Roy Owens was very helpful when we came to configure the trucks, particularly with regard to the positioning of the fifth wheels so that all these new units can comply with the strict 4.0-metre maximum operation height in Switzerland.”

McCulla has also taken out a five-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contract. “The rates are highly competitive and we’ve been very impressed by what we’ve seen of the dealer’s back-up so far, while our drivers are also delighted with their new trucks,” adds Mr Beattie.

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