RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Clean ‘green’ Mercedes-Benz Sprinters charge into SSE fleet

8th July 2011 Print
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

One of the UK’s largest energy producers has switched to a fleet of nearly 400 environmentally-friendly Mercedes-Benz vans.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)’s new Sprinters are powered by low emission 129hp Euro 5 engines and equipped with optional BlueEfficiency packages which make them even ‘greener’ and more economical than the standard model.

BlueEFFICIENCY combines a raft of measures aimed at saving fuel and cutting exhaust emissions. These include ECO-Start, the innovative system which boosts economy by automatically cutting the engine whenever the vehicle is stationary, for example in traffic, then automatically re-starting it as soon as the driver depresses the clutch prior to moving off.

With other features such as low rolling resistance tyres, and efficiency improvements to items like the power steering system, fuel pump and battery management, BlueEFFICIENCY delivers significant savings.

Safety was also high on SSE’s list of priorities. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter boasts an industry-leading armoury of active and passive safety equipment, in addition to which SSE specified passenger airbags to complement the standard driver items. Meanwhile, each access point is equipped with handles to ensure operatives entering or leaving the vehicle have three points of contact at all times.

And as they frequently tow trailers weighing up to 2.5-tonnes, the fact that Euro 5 Sprinters come fitted as standard with Trailer Stability Assist was another point in their favour. This clever system works with the vehicle’s Adaptive ESP® electronic stability program to detect any swaying motion in the trailer, and intervenes automatically to bring the combination back into line.

SSE’s 383 new Mercedes are the subject of a five-year contract hire deal with Lex Autolease. They were supplied by dealer Rygor Commercials, of Westbury, Wiltshire, with support from Mercedes-Benz UK’s fleet van sales team.

Most are 3.5-tonne Sprinter 313CDI panel vans which are now serving as general ‘workhorses’ and used to fulfil a wide variety of roles across all of SSE’s divisions.

However, 79 are 5.0-tonne Sprinter 513CDI panel vans. Fitted with Versalift 14m access platforms and stabiliser legs, these are used to maintain street lighting columns; some have low-voltage insulation which allows them to work on overhead power lines too.

Mike Lauriello, Lex Corporate Business Development Director, said: “The Sprinters were chosen for this order after we worked through a detailed evaluation, along with our client SSE.

“The order was based on a long list of criteria: the vans had to be fit for purpose and able to do the job for which they were intended. We also looked at driver acceptance, cab comfort, and ‘practical user’ acceptance – taking in factors such as the height of the rear step – then compiled a detailed analysis of projected whole-life costs.”

He continued: “Safety and technology were also crucial to the evaluation. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is widely recognised as the safest vehicle in its class, as well as being one of the cleanest, ‘greenest’ vans on the road – as a business working in the energy sector, SSE is determined to lead not follow when it comes to cutting fuel use and exhaust emissions.”

Representatives of both SSE and Lex also attended last year’s Mercedes-Benz Van Experience, a showcase event that gives delegates the opportunity to experience at first hand the full capabilities of the manufacturer’s award-winning light commercial vehicle range.

Added Mr Lauriello: “Features such as the Adaptive ESP stability program are impressive enough on paper but when you see and feel how well the system works on a skid pan, you really appreciate what a vital contribution to safety it makes.”

SSE’s Sprinters are additionally fitted with racking systems by Tevo, of Wooburn Green, Buckinghamshire, roof-racks and rear steps, and wear eye-catching vinyl-wrap liveries. Most are also equipped to tow generators, compressors and trailers for plant items such as mini-diggers. They are based across SSE’s working area, which covers most of Scotland and the southern half of England, as far north as Nottingham and Stoke.

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter