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Mercedes-Benz Actros demonstrates its fuel-saving credentials - Mercedes-Benz Actros in the Fuel Duel: wins the fuel comparison test again
- On average, over eleven percent better consumption than competitor vehicles
- Fuel comparison tests carried out in 22 European countries using 90 Actros models
- The success factor:greater economy
- Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and FleetBoard save on additional diesel
With a market share of 23 percent, the Mercedes-Benz Actros is currently the market leader in Europe for heavy-duty trucks with a permissible GVW of 16 t and upwards. In Germany it also leads the way, with around 40 percent market share. The reasons for its great popularity amongst owners of haulage operations include its tremendous economic efficiency and its high level of safety. The consumption figures alone are more than convincing: the Actros with Euro VI exhaust technology uses up to five percent less fuel than its Euro V predecessor model. In combination with the anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC), fuel savings can be boosted by a further five percent.
Fuel savings of more than eleven percent over competitors
The Actros demonstrates this even more convincingly when compared to its rivals. In around 750 fuel comparison tests in various fleets and in "real-life use" on the road – called the Fuel Duel – it demonstrated an advantage in terms of consumption of over eleven percent on average. And the Mercedes-Benz Actros won more than 90 percent of all duels.
The most recent example of this comes from Soest, near Dortmund: at Meiberg Transport, an Actros 1845 LS (Euro VI) was pitted against a comparable competitor vehicle in Euro V, and took on the latter's haulage jobs for two weeks. Company owner Dirk Meiberg explained: "We weren't interested in the figures you find in brochures - we wanted to test the Mercedes in everyday operations and find out what it could do compared with our existing tractor units, which have overall average consumption figures of 29.5 l/100 km." But this was no easy challenge for the Actros, as the consumption for the best truck in the fleet is significantly lower than the average figure - thanks in part to its economic Euro V technology. The fuel consumption of the reference truck was 26.9 l/100 km. And this was the figure the Actros had to beat in the two-week duel.
Seven percent better fuel consumption in the Fuel Duel
In the Fuel Duel staged for the Meiberg haulage company, the Actros 1845 LS, which drove 4972.7 km during the test period, recorded average consumption of 25.0 l per 100 km. This means the benefit in terms of fuel consumption compared with the competitor truck with Euro V is 1.9 l/100 km, or seven percent. In the case of an annual mileage of 120,000 km, this results in a saving of 2280 l of fuel and six tonnes of CO2.
Fuel Duels in 22 European countries with 90 Actros models
The same rules always apply to the staging of a duel: the driver from the fleet concerned receives thorough instruction and is initially accompanied by a professional instructor or an experienced member of Mercedes-Benz's sales staff. He then carries out his customary work with the Actros for two weeks, supported by the FleetBoard telematics service. The Mercedes-Benz vehicles for Fuel Duels have an identical configuration: the vehicles are for the most part fitted with a StreamSpace cab, PPC and FleetBoard. Adhesive campaign markings clearly identify the vehicles concerned. Today, 90 Actros trucks are on the road in 22 countries taking part in the Fuel Duel, an initiative started by Mercedes-Benz Netherlands two years ago.
Mercedes Powershift 3 and PPC fitted for the first time
The Actros 1845 LS was also in action for two weeks for the Meiberg haulage company, pulling the refrigerated semitrailer containing 33 pallets of fresh meat boxes daily from Heiligenstadt to Dortmund.
On Day One the driver was given comprehensive vehicle training and introduced to the Economy Mode of the Mercedes PowerShift 3 automatic transmission system, which is fitted as standard. The anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) was also new to the driver. As PPC not only knows the topography of the route ahead, but also knows the precise weight of the vehicle and the speed range selected in the cruise control, it can calculate which is the optimal gear quicker than any driver can and changes gear at exactly the right moment.
Meiberg driver assessed as "very good" by the FleetBoard system
The FleetBoard telematics service very quickly established how economically the driver from Meiberg drove the Actros 1845 LS. To do this, a wide range of vehicle data was recorded, on acceleration and braking phases, speed ranges and gear shifting, through to the power required in various power output ranges.
Consultant Fabian Eisenhauer from the Professional Training & Consulting Team for Germany evaluated the data every day at the plant in Wörth. According to his calculations, the mapping of the gears engaged indicated that gear-changing was economical in 96.6 percent of cases. Eisenhauer was correspondingly complimentary about the driver: "The man at the wheel is a real professional. On the FleetBoard evaluation scale, which goes from 1 to 10, he scored 9.67."
The driver is also aware of this score. This is because comprehensive and detailed FleetBoard information is available to the driver through an onboard display - either aggregated over a longer period of time or relating just to the last trip made, according to preference. This not only gives the driver the score for his/her driving style, but allows all vehicle data to be called up and gives tips on how to achieve an even more economical driving style.
The success factors: greater economy and greater safety
Fabian Eisenhauer has been a consultant for five years; prior to this he worked as a trainer. He therefore knows the business really well and he knows that the number of good drivers is diminishing all the time - indeed, the number of drivers in general is diminishing all the time. That is why it is becoming ever more important that vehicle technology takes more strain off the drivers, both where safety as well as economic efficiency are concerned.
The proof that the Mercedes-Benz development engineers endowed the Actros with both these factors for success can be seen in the 13 "guardian angels" on board: they include the Proximity Control Assist, Stability Control Assist (ESP) and Lane Keeping Assist systems, as well as Active Brake Assist 3 which can autonomously initiate emergency braking in the face of both moving and stationary obstacles, as required.