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Mercedes Actros: more mileage from less diesel

4th July 2011 Print

After 10,000 kilometres it is official: the new Actros from Mercedes-Benz combines ultra-low exhaust emissions with ultra-low fuel consumption. The clean heavy-duty truck, which is Euro VI-compliant as standard, offers low emissions which undercut the currently valid standards by up to 80 percent. At the same time, the new generation of vehicles which has been fully redesigned in compliance with Euro VI runs on 4.5 percent less diesel than the current Actros heavy-duty truck.
This result bears out Daimler's undertaking that the new Actros will reconcile more stringent environmental protection require­ments with further enhanced economic performance. In addition, the lowered fuel consumption also reduces the environmental impact of carbon dioxide emissions by cutting these on a similar scale.
Truck operators who buy their new Actros in the optionally available Euro V version will benefit from even more transport efficiency per litre of fuel in comparison to the current model. A new model 1845 BlueTec 5 Actros ran on 7.6 percent less diesel in the 10,000 long-haul comparative test drive than the current Actros 1844 BlueTec 5 model, for example.
The absolute figures measured over the 10,000 kilometre trial make impressive reading. The tried and tested Actros 1844 BlueTec 5 set a reference value of 27.1 litres per 100 kilometres. With the optionally so-called Nardo specification, the test vehicle was designed for minimum road resistance.
The follow-up Actros 1845 BlueTec 6 model nevertheless undercut this outstanding benchmark by 4.5 percent, running on 25.9 l per 100 km. The Euro VI emissions standard will be mandatory in the EU as of 2014. The optionally available Euro V emission control brought the new Actros 1845 BlueTec 5 down to 7.6 points below the 100 percent reference line.
In addition to the lowered diesel consumption, AdBlue consumption is also reduced drastically in the new Mercedes-Benz Actros. The comparative test drive from Rotterdam to Stettin and back revealed a difference of more than 40 percentage points between the present-day Mercedes-Benz 1844 LS (1.55 l/100 km) and the new Euro VI-compliant Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 LS (0.86 l/100 km). The AdBlue consumption of the Euro V version on this route stood at just under 1.1 l per 100 km.
The comparative test drive with three Actros semi-trailer/tractor combinations, each with a gross weight of 40 tonnes, started in Rotterdam on 26 June and then continued non-stop. The destination for the test trio was Stettin. Until late into Saturday evening, regular transport services were simulated on an east-west transversal route such as is typical in European long-haul transport operations.
Three Actros models - an 1844 BlueTec 5 and two new variants in the guise of an Actros 1845 BlueTec 6 and a BlueTec 5 - each covered just over 10,000 km in seven 24-hour shifts. The average daily mileage stood at 1600 km, breaking down into an 800 km day shift and a night shift of equal length. Each shift was shared by two Mercedes-Benz works drivers at the wheel of each vehicle.
The average fuel consumption was determined under the super­vision of a test engineer from the Dekra inspection agency. In addition to refuelling operations, the entire comparative fuel consumption test was under the Dekra inspector's overall super­vision. The established absolute and relative fuel consumption values are based exclusively on the reference data determined under this regime. The diesel fuel and the engine oil for the week-long tour were provided by Mercedes-Benz's partner Shell.
The initial evaluation in Dekra's official report bears out the claim made by Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, at the premiere of the new Actros. Mr Renschler rightly asserted that, depending on the emissions standard, the new model requires three to seven percent less fuel than the established model conforming to Euro V.
As such, the company has managed to resolve a previously intractable conflict of aims resulting from the fact that more stringent emissions standards requiring reductions in NOx emissions accompanied by lower particle emissions had always necessitated combustion measures which led to increased fuel consumption.
A major technological breakthrough was needed in order to overcome this vicious circle. Such a leap forward becomes possible when a vehicle undergoes a thorough revamp - as exemplified by the new Actros from Mercedes-Benz. In the powertrain which is crucial to fuel consumption, a new generation of engines, enhanced transmissions and drive axles work hand in hand with a new range of cabs which set aerodynamic benchmarks.
This overall package manages not only to avoid the increase in fuel consumption which was predestined to result from the Euro VI requirements. Beyond this, the new Actros actually combines a minimisation of emissions to barely detectable levels with a drop in diesel consumption in comparison to its predecessor.
This makes it a worthwhile proposition for Mercedes-Benz customers to pre-empt the forthcoming environmental protection requirements by investing in Euro VI vehicles in good time. In view of the substantial additional expenditure pertaining to the complex Euro VI emission control technology, it is incumbent on governments to play their part by offering appropriate incentives to encourage such environmentally friendly options, however.