Actros Driver’s First Impressions

Diesel News became part of the trial testing process in the development of the new truck from Mercedes Benz, which was released last month. Here is a Actros driver’s first impressions of the cab fwhen confronted with a new design and an array of buttons and displays.

The cabin on the model tested by Diesel is the biggest one we will see here in Australia. This has a flat floor and double bunks, fitted with the kind of things we expect in a top of the range European prime mover, a slide out fridge and storage drawer, plus well-appointed interior. The bottom bunk is large, in European terms, and comfortable. Read more

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New Mercedes Benz Actros Preview

Here’s a new Mercedes Benz Actros preview, in the lead up to the new model’s first official public appearance, next week. The next generation Actros is all-new from stem to stern. There’s a completely new engine platform to go along with the all new cabin. In fact, the new cabin design is a necessity, the new engine is an in-line six and a completely different shape to the V6 and V8 engines powering the current Actros.

New Mercedes Benz Actros Preview

Evaluation models have been in and out of the training room at Mercedes Benz HQ in Mulgrave, Victoria, as a succession of technicians from around Australia attend training courses in the all-new product. It’s not just the technicians, there are the parts teams, sales support staff and anyone else needing to be brought up to speed on a product range which is completely different to the product they are dealing with on a day to day basis, at the moment.

“Having the evaluation vehicles in applications is giving those people supporting the new trucks in the relevant areas some direct, real life experience with the vehicles,” said Andrew Assimo, Mercedes Benz National Sales Manager. “Nine have been in operation and there will be fifteen, in total, before the evaluation period ends.

“Some are approaching 200,000 km. One in the West is a road train truck which is running between Perth and Onslow every day, about 2,500 km. It’s running at 110 tonnes GCM, all day, every day. It’s been a good test for that truck in the hottest, toughest type of environment and it’s been really successful. We’ve been able to keep it there for a long period of time.

“This performance and durability testing is evaluating reliability. In Germany we can get so many options, but not all of them make sense for what we want to offer in Australia. As much as further adapting local equipment and local OEM supplied components, it’s a process of finding what makes sense for our market in key applications. If we want to grow and focus our attention on capturing the mainstream on highway business, we’ve got to know what works and what doesn’t.”

New Mercedes Benz Actros Preview

Assimo needs to be able to say to customers, when the new Actros is launched, that a particular model is suitable and capable of handling a specific application. The work going on now means the person selling the truck will be able to tell a customer running the Eastern Seaboard at a particular average mass and average speed, what sort of fuel usage and durability they can expect from the truck.

The evaluation will also enable Benz to give precise details on servicing costs. It will also enable the team to develop fully maintained packages which can accurately predict the whole of life cost of a truck over periods up to five years.

The initial trucks brought in were specified as a baseline from which to work. Later introductions have adjusted options like rear axle ratios and tyres to further optimise parameters like fuel consumption and service intervals. The last models used in the testing program between now and the launch will be those with the specification options found to maximise performance.

 

New Truck on the Way from Mercedes Benz

The new truck on the way from Mercedes Benz should mean Daimler, as a group, and Mercedes Benz in particular have something completely new to show the world. The next generation Actros is all-new from stem to stern. There’s a completely new engine platform to go along with the all new cabin. In fact, the new cabin design is a necessity, the new engine is an in line six and a completely different shape to the V6 and V8 engines powering the current Actros.

 

New Truck on the Way from Mercedes Benz

 

Mercedes Benz is also increasing the intensity of its foray into the waste industry, with the introduction of the new dual control Econic, the first of its kind in the world, and set up specifically to handle Australian roadside bin collection.

 

The Econic is now one of three models introduced recently to compete with the Iveco Acco’s dominance of this market segment, one which it has dominated for a very long time. The others involved are the Dennis Eagle and the, new, Volvo FE dual control.

 

The big selling point for the new Actros, when it arrives later this year is, it will have been here for nearly two years already. In an unprecedented move the company has brought in a wide selection of pre-production models, put them in fleets around the country and tested them fully on our highways. The new shape is impossible to disguise, so Mercedes benz bit the bullet and painted the trucks up as evaluation models, making it clear they were not necessarily the final models which would go on sale.

 

The Benz organisation has used this time to really see what fits in the Aussie market and give the production facility back in Germany chapter and verse on what works and what doesn’t. The entire truck range has been honed in the place where it should be, out on the Australian highway.

 

One very small item which illustrates the depth of detail the team has gone to. An adaptation is now included so owners and drivers can fit UHF aerials directly on to the prewired set up in the truck. In the past, these were incompatible. Not a major thing, but it shows the level of work being put into this development process.

 

New Truck on the Way from Mercedes Benz

 

Driving the new Actros, as Diesel did, further emphasises just how new all of this stuff is. The information screens in the new truck are numerous and smart. The final offering is not yet settled, but there will be a smaller screen directly in front of the driver with all of the basic data plus selected camera feed, if fitted. One or two larger screens to the driver’s left are also likely, with one giving a higher level of information and using more camera feeds, and the other handling entertainment and communication.

 

In the Actros driven for this short test, it’s the model aimed at supermarket distribution-type operations, the number of drinks holders is impressive. It is possible to store a six-pack in the various positions, all with handy access for the driver. Another trivial observation, but illustrative of the quantum shift in design from the current Actros to the future model.

 

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Mercedes-Benz Truck Technician of the Year

The Mercedes-Benz Truck Technician of the Year award has been awarded to a kiwi. New Zealander Matt Gillatt is a 31-year-old from Keith Andrews Trucks service centre in Whangarei, 150km north of Auckland. He emerged the winner in a tight contest of the best Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle technicians in Australia and New Zealand.

 

Mercedes-Benz Truck Technician of the Year
Left to Right: Michael May and Matt Gillatt

 

His prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany this September to visit the Benz truck production plant in Worth, attend the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover and visit the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.

 

Iain Dorward, from Daimler Trucks Adelaide, was the runner up when the final points were tallied. The 32-year-old from Ireland did his apprenticeship at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in England before moving to Australia in January 2014.

 

Luckily for Iain, Mercedes-Benz Truck made a last minute announcement the runner-up would also be going on the same trip to Germany.

 

Other technicians who made the final, which was held at the Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus training centre in Mulgrave, Victoria, included Bill Gauci and Terry Larkin of Daimler Trucks Sydney, Huntingwood, and Gary Bradshaw of Daimler Trucks Adelaide.

 

These five finalists are our best certified Mercedes-Benz Truck diagnostic technicians, the cream of the crop, and it was a fantastic effort from all of them to reach the final,” said Michael May, Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Australia and New Zealand Director. “The competition was close and all of them showed great skill throughout the day, but Matt emerged as the winner, which is a great achievement.”

New Electric Truck from Mercedes Benz

A new electric truck from Mercedes Benz has been announced in Germany. The new vehicle is said to be the first fully electric truck for heavy distribution operations. According to Daimler Trucks the market launch of this technology could be at the beginning of the next decade.

 

New Electric Truck from Mercedes Benz

 

The company have already been involved with a fully electric truck in customer trials with the Fuso Canter E-Cell, trialled in Europe since 2014.

 

“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses at the Daimler Board of Management. “Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck.

 

“In light distribution trucks, our Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014. And with the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving.”

 

New Electric Truck from Mercedes Benz

 

The Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck is based on a standard three-axle short-radius Mercedes-Benz distribution truck. The entire conventional drivetrain being replaced by a new electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. This is derived from the electric rear axle which was developed for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid bus.

 

New Electric Truck from Mercedes Benz

 

The power is supplied by a battery pack consisting of three lithium-ion battery modules. The claimed range of the new truck is up to 200 km. The batteries are housed in a crash-proof location inside the frame.

 

“With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are underlining our intention to systematically developing the electric drive in trucks to series production maturity” said Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. “This means that we will begin to integrate customers, so as to gain valuable joint experience with respect to the operating ranges and the charging infrastructure in daily transport operations. Because we think the entry of this technology into the series production is already conceivable at the beginning of the next decade.”

 

The electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly placed next to the wheel hubs has a maximum output of 2 x 125 kW, with a peak torque of 2 x 500 Nm. In combination with the gearing in place , the torque at the wheel is claimed to reach 11,000 Nm.

 

The power is supplied by a battery pack consisting of three modules of lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 212 kWh. This results in a range of up to 200 km. Depending on the desired range, the modular battery pack can be customised by adding or removing batteries.

 

New Electric Truck from Mercedes Benz

 

The Urban eTruck is connected to the charging station using the Europe-wide standardised Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 2 connector. Batteries can be charged to 100 per cent in two to three hours, according to Daimler.

Daimler Dealership Ownership Change

This week has seen the announcement of a Daimler Dealership ownership change in the Melbourne area. Automotive Holdings Group, fast becoming a major player in both truck sales and the trucking industry, announced it has agreed to acquire the Mercedes‐Benz Commercial Vehicles dealership in Laverton, Victoria from Mercedes‐Benz Australia/Pacific. Read more

Collusion Fines for Truck Makers

Massive collusion fines for truck makers have been handed down by the European Union. According to the EU the group of manufacturers were found to be acting as a cartel to fix prices of trucks and time the introduction of technologies to comply with emissions rules.

The fines amount to 3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) and are said to be the highest ever levied by the European authorities. All of the major suppliers to the European market were included in the decision. Those fined in the case so far include MAN, Mercedes Benz, DAF, Iveco and Volvo/Renault and it was asserted they had been colluding for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011. Scania is still under investigation. Read more

3D Printing for Truck Parts

Mercedes-Benz is introducing 3D printing for truck parts as part of the standard production method in parts departments. Later this year, 30 genuine spare parts will be available for order and supplied at the press of a button from the 3D printer.

 

3D Printing for Truck Parts

 

“In keeping with our brand promise ‘Trucks you can trust’, we set the same benchmarks for reliability, functionality, durability and economy for spare parts from 3D production as for parts from conventional production”, said Andreas Deuschle, Head of Marketing and Operations in the Customer Services and Parts Mercedes-Benz Trucks Division. “However, 3D offers many more possibilities; this is why we shall be rapidly extending the production of 3D printed parts.

 

“We benefit from our extensive experience at Daimler with 3D printing processes in prototype construction. The available spare parts consist of high-quality plastic components. Covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements are just a few examples of economical spare part production in top quality made possible by using the 3D printing process.

 

The ‘printed’ spare parts are created with state-of-the-art 3D printers based on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing process. For Mercedes-Benz Trucks the process parameters have been optimised and determined by the Daimler research and development divisions.

 

Every 3D spare part can be ordered by the customer using the special spare part number under which it is recorded in the order code lists and the spare parts catalogues at Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

 

The challenge in the spare parts business lies in securing supply even for model series which are no longer produced and for which there is only a low demand in small quantities every year. Producing them is uneconomical for suppliers, production facilities and tools often have to be retained and maintained for years.

 

Getting the Lowdown on Benz

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has officially launched its dual control low entry truck. The Econic was formally unveiled, this week, in front of waste industry representatives at an event in Melbourne. Mercedes Benz, here in Australia, has developed a world’s first, this is the first time the Econic has been fitted with two steering wheels and controls on both sides of the cabin.

 

EconicLaunch- 136 copy

 

The dual control Econic is produced at the company’s Worth plant in Germany and it has a Euro 6 rated engine, Electronic Stability Program and a low-entry cab design with visibility superior to that of traditional trucks. Benz are keen to point out, no other truck in this class has all three features.

 

“The launch of the dual control Econic represents a win all round for operators, drivers and the public,” said Andrew Assimo, Mercedes-Benz Trucks Sales Manager. “The Euro 6 engine is efficient and produces low emissions, but it is quiet in operation too.

 

“High levels of safety are a big plus for everyone, especially the driver, who also benefits from great ergonomics. There is also the superior vision of this truck, which is of utmost importance given the mixture of pedestrians, cyclists and cars in the urban environments most Econics will operate.”

 

The dual control Econic is fitted with Electronic Stability Program, also Electronic Braking System and an Anti-Lock Braking System all fitted as standard. Optional safety items include adaptive cruise control, Active Brake Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.

 

The truck’s cabin complies with the European ECE-R29 crash test regulations and features large panoramic windows for improved visibility. The Econic features air suspension on all axles and a suspended driver’s seat on both sides of the cabin.

 

It uses a 7.7-litre diesel engine putting out 299 hp and meeting Euro 6 emission standards. According to Mercedes Benz, this means it delivers a reduction of emissions and particulate matter by up to 90 per cent compared to the Euro 5 engine. Econic also runs the industry-preferred six-speed Allison fully automatic transmission.

 

“We’ve been developing this targeted product for the local waste industry for three years, so it was fantastic to show the dual control Econic to our customers,” said Michael May, Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Director. “The reaction was extremely positive with customers thrilled to finally see a factory-delivered solution that ticks so many of the boxes when it comes to safety, environment, driver welfare and low operating costs.”

 

Econic Goes Dual

A world first is being introduced onto the Australian market by Mercedes-Benz. This is the launch of the dual control Econic model for use by the waste collection industry. Dual control allows drivers to control the vehicle from the side of the cab closest to the kerb and enables a better view when picking up bins using the side loader system.

 

2016-01-11 10.49.27-003s

 

The truck is sold in Europe with a single steering wheel for use by the waste industry, but Australian operators prefer to go down the dual control route. There are, currently only two players in this market segment, Iveco with the latest Acco and Dennis Eagle with the Elite 2.

 

The new dual control Econic has a Euro 6 rated engine, Electronic Stability Control and a low-entry cab design with a high level of all round visibility. As Mercedes Benz is keen to point out, no other truck in the class has all three of these features.

 

The Econic first appeared in Australia at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne back in 2012. At the time it was only available as a single steer model. Since then, Mercedes Benz has developed the dual control system, specifically to suit Australian operators.

 

The Econic uses a 7.7 litre diesel engine with 299 hp that meets Euro 6 emission standards, linked up to a six-speed Allison fully automatic transmission. Its cabin complies with the European ECE-R29 crash test regulations.

 

The Econic has Electronic Stability Program, an Electronic Braking System and ABS. It features air suspension for all axles and a suspended driver’s seat on both sides of the cabin.

 

2016-01-11 10.11.13-003s

 

“The Econic was already a class-leading vehicle; the only thing missing was dual control,” said Andrew Assimo, Mercedes-Benz Trucks Sales Manager. “We are very excited to introduce a dual control version, which we think ticks all the boxes for Australian waste collection operators.”

 

“There is no other truck in the class that has the full suite of safety and environmental features that are standard in Econic including an Electronic Braking System, Anti-Lock Braking, a Euro 6 rated engine and panoramic vision. We know this will be a big plus for many customers.”

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