Amey, an infrastructure, consulting, utilities, and waste treatment specialist based in London, recently ordered 15 Mercedes-Benz trucks, including 12 Econics, to add to its 500-vehicle fleet. Amey will put 14 of the trucks on repair and maintenance duty as part of a £325 million Area 10 Highways England maintenance and response contract covering 500 kilometres of roadways in and around Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside, and South Lancashire. Also part of the order are one Econic and one Arocs 2630 gritter that will go to work in Scotland as well as two Arocs 1824 tipper trucks destined for the East Midlands.
Amey has operated Econics since 2009 and its newest dozen are all 1827L 18-tonners with 272-horsepower (200-kilowatt), 7.7-litre engines and PowerShift 3 automated manual gearboxes. Of the first four trucks delivered, two are traffic management vehicles outfitted by Acklea of Calne, Wiltshire, and two are barrier rigs featuring cone wells and cranes outfitted by Palfinger UK in Devizes.
Safety Is Key
One big reason Amey continues to return to the Econic, and the Mercedes-Benz marque as a whole, is their comprehensive range of safety features. One example is Active Brake Assist 4, an emergency braking system that detects vehicles and pedestrians and can automatically stop the vehicle if necessary. The Econic is also a low-entry vehicle with flat floors, making it easier for operators to enter and move around the cab, which is ideal for multi-stop deliveries, refuse collection, and more. Other features include a panoramic windscreen and a low seating position; Amey also chose to add more cameras to give their drivers 360 degrees of visibility.
“Our experience over more than a decade confirms that the Econic is simply the best vehicle for this job,” says Jason Clement, supply chain manager at Amey. “Like all Mercedes-Benz trucks, it’s well-built, reliable, and cost-effective to operate. Just as importantly, the Econic leads the field in terms of safety, and is very popular with our crews. The opinions of frontline colleagues are key to Amey’s vehicle procurement strategy, and the low-entry Mercedes-Benz scores particularly highly in terms of cab space and comfort.”
More Mercedes-Benz Econic Details
The versatile Econic platform is highly configurable, with four axle variants ranging from 18 to 32 t in gross weight. It comes in low and high cab versions with wheelbases of 3,450 to 5,700 millimetres. Either the leading or the trailing axles can be steerable. Each axle has a full air suspension that is adjustable for height.
Mercedes-Benz outfits the Econic line with 7.7-litre, inline six-cylinder engines. Diesel-burning models range from 272 to 354 hp (260 kW). An alternative that runs on natural gas or biogas produces 302 hp (225 kW) and comes with a low 80 dB(A) noise rating. Besides the Allison automatic mentioned above, Mercedes also offers the Econic with a semi-automated PowerShift transmission with 12 forward and four reverse gears.