With options for a low or high cab, multiple axle variants and wheelbases, and diesel or natural gas powertrains (with an all-electronic version on the way), the Mercedes-Benz Econic is a highly configurable truck ideal for disposal and supply jobs. From work in the public service sector and city construction transport to short-radius distribution and airport ground support, the Econic’s ability to use numerous components from the modular system of Mercedes-Benz Trucks allows operators to expand on the trucks’ key strengths. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the Econic.
A Brief History
Initially introduced at the Entsorga waste management trade show in 1998, the Econic was designed to fuse the key characteristics of vehicles designed for work across different sectors into a single vehicle. The successful launch, with 8,000 units sold in the first 10 years, prompted Mercedes-Benz to add product features based on customer demand. For example, the 6x4 drive configuration was introduced in 2001, the gas-powered Econic followed in 2002, and in 2003, the 240-kilowatt (322-horsepower) Econic made its debut.
The Econic currently comes in two-, three-, and four-axle variants, with permissible gross vehicle weights of 18, 26, and 32 tonnes, respectively. The four-axle vehicle can be configured with a steered leading and/or trailing axle. Power is provided by six-cylinder in-line engine taken from Mercedes-Benz 900 series, with many diesel models featuring the Mercedes-Benz OM 926 LA engine. The OM 926 LA can be fitted with a basic output of 200 kW (268 hp) or a top performance with 240 kW. All diesel-powered variants of the Econic are fitted with an aluminium fuel tank boasting a capacity of 200 litres. The Econic is also available with a natural gas drive as an alternative to diesel. The M936G natural gas engine generates 222 kW (298 hp) from a displacement of 7.7 litres. Power transmission is handled in all cases by a six-speed automatic shift from Allison.
Better Visibility, Better Safety
Perhaps the most recognizable feature of the Econic is the truck’s panoramic widescreen and full-height, glazed folding side doors, which provide drivers with all-round visibility of surrounding traffic. Mercedes-Benz also offers such optional safety features as Active Brake Assist 4 with emergency braking and a Rearguard Assist system that uses radar to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings when in reverse and provides audio and visual alerts to prevent impacts. In fact, the Econic can be equipped with as many as 10 safety assistance systems, making the truck ideal for urban operations.