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The new Mercedes-Benz Actros: New Actros on the roads of Europe: proving its worth 30,000 times over in less than two years
- 30,000 new Actros trucks in operation
- More than one third equipped with Euro VI technology
- Euro VI technology saves diesel and AdBlue
- Individual workplaces with the home-feeling factor
- PPC order rate already one third in Germany
- Optimisation I: overview of driving time
- Optimisation II: PPC display refined even further
The images recently went around the world: a convoy of eleven new Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks bringing 300 pallets of aid supplies valued at €4 million from Frankfurt to Gaziantep on the Syrian border. The 4000 kilometres through six countries, with many hours of waiting time when crossing borders, were covered in six days of hard driving. Technical problems with the trucks? Not one! Which once again confirms the reliability of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros.
This has been the daily experience of transport operators in Europe for a long time, and the advanced technology has proved itself in practice. Since the market launch at the end of 2011, some 30,000 new Actros trucks have been performing likewise on a daily basis. Some of them have already notched up mileages of 600,000 kilometres or more. The result: new milestones in fuel consumption and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).
Euro VI saves diesel and AdBlue
Even for the Euro VI variants, and despite the sophisticated emission control measures, the "Record Run" arranged as a comparative test drive by Daimler and supervised by DEKRA, with three Actros trucks from two model generations, showed a 4.5 percent advantage in favour of this future-proof emissions technology. In a customer survey, customers from twelve European countries even reported achieving a 5 to 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption, depending on type of operation, as an advantage of Euro VI. There are also significant improvements by up to 40 percent in consumption of the reduction agent AdBlue.
In the demanding emissions category with Euro VI technology, there are now more than 11,000 Mercedes-Benz trucks on Europe's roads. As a proportion of orders their numbers have increased steadily, lying at around 80 percent since spring 2013 in e.g. Germany. The sophisticated emission control technology of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros is based on more than 25 billion kilometres of experience in the USA, where Daimler trucks equipped with it have been on the roads for over four years.
Rüdiger Elflein, head of the German transport and forwarding company Elflein Spedition & Transport GmbH: "We chose Euro VI very consciously because we believe that Euro VI represents the currently highest and most advanced stage of technical development for engines", said Rüdiger Elflein, Managing Director of Elflein Spedition & Transport GmbH. "We have been using Euro VI vehicles since 2012. In terms of fuel consumption, our expectations have even been exceeded: the new Actros uses about eight percent less fuel than the previous generation of the Actros. We are also very pleased to see that the new Actros caters better than ever for the needs of drivers, resulting in an attractive workplace for our drivers."
Saving even more diesel with PPC
A further advance in fuel efficiency was recently achieved with the introduction of Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC). As test reports by specialist publications consistently confirm, PPC is the most mature of all the known systems on the market for intelligent control of the powertrain.
In daily practice, the advantages of PPC particularly come to the fore when the driver's level of attention declines over the working day, or when routes are being covered that are not part of the daily routine. The result is a fuel saving of another five percent compared with journeys without PPC. One in three Actros trucks are now already ordered with PPC in Germany.
Well ahead of the competition in safety technology
The safety equipment of the Mercedes-Benz Actros sets the example, and has proved its worth. The "thirteen guardian angels" for truckers include Proximity Control Assist, Stability Control Assist and Lane Keeping Assist, right up to Active Brake Assist 3. The latter already complies with the next-but-one level of EU safety legislation (AEBS, Autonomous Emergency Brake System, Phase 2).
The order rates for these systems have even amazed the professionals in the transport sector: together with the preceding model, more than 38,000 Active Brake Assist systems are performing their important duty on the roads today, and the figures for Lane Keeping Assist and Stability Control Assist exceed 60,000 in each case.
Over one third of the new Mercedes-Benz trucks are ordered with safety equipment packages at advantageous prices. The base package is the Safety Pack Basic. This comprises Proximity Control Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and a driver airbag. In addition, the Safety Pack Classic includes Active Brake Assist and a roll control system for dropsiders. The Safety Pack Top adds a retarder to these.
The order rate for the Economy packages is even higher, currently standing at 40 percent. The Economy Pack Classic includes a tyre pressure monitoring system, air deflectors for the cab and aerodynamically effective side panels. The highly efficient water retarder is added if the Economy Pack Top is ordered.
The choice of interior features available to create an attractive workplace to suit the individual needs of drivers is likewise unrivalled. The Actros long-distance cab is available in widths of 2.3 and 2.5 m, in four roof variants and with a standard length of 2.3 m. No less than five of the seven cab variants have a level floor.
A choice of individual cabs – and SoloStar to boot
The user-friendly workplace and comfortable living area are separated in colour and geometry. Developed specifically for the new Actros, some of the many features include high-quality surfaces, the luxurious driver's seat with an optional massage function, beds with all the comfort of home, a multifunction steering wheel, informative and attractive instruments and asymmetrical roof stowage boxes.
The optionally available SoloStar Concept for the new Actros is unique. It adds a new dimension to the rest area and ensures maximum recovery. This comfortable relaxation area on the co-driver's side takes the form of a corner unit and is offset to the rear against the rear wall so that the driver can stretch his/her legs. The SoloStar Concept is proving popular: more than 3000 Actros drivers already enjoy this new dimension in space.
Three different packages not only make a high level of comfort in the Actros affordable thanks to an attractive price advantage, but also simplify the buyer's choice by grouping typical optional equipment items together. The Comfort Pack Basic includes an enhanced central locking system, a two-section electric roller blind, ambience interior lighting and two-way loudspeakers.
The Comfort Pack Classic also includes a lockable stowage compartment above the windscreen plus an additional drawer in the centre console, air horns and side-mounted roller sunblinds at the top of the door windows, a leather steering wheel and an electrically operated tilting/sliding sunroof.
In addition, the Comfort Pack Top has a sound system with 7 speakers plus a subwoofer, the Highline version of the instrument cluster, a slide-in base for the roof stowage compartments, automatic climate control, a refrigerator in the drawer under the bed and an illuminated Mercedes star in the radiator grille.
… and Style
Like Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the interior of the new Actros can be visually upgraded even further and individualised with two different equipment lines. Home Line accentuates the homeliness of the new Actros. It is characterised by wood-effect interior door handles and trim strips in the cockpit. Style Line places more emphasis on the dynamism of the new Actros, with chrome-effect interior door handles and trim strips embellishing the cockpit, steering wheel, air vents and steering column gearshift.
Continuous further development
The continuous process of improvement in vehicle development is also a hallmark feature of Mercedes-Benz. Both the technology and the appointments are regularly adapted to suit customer wishes. From October, for example, there will be a further, very driver-friendly development in the display of driving and resting times. On the basis of information from the latest-generation Digital Tachograph (DTCO), the new Actros now also displays the very important cumulative daily driving time and the weekly or two-weekly driving time. The system also indicates whether the regular daily driving time of nine hours has been exceeded.
The display concept of the driver assistance system PPC incorporates a further refinement at the same time. The speed hysteresis set by the driver above and below the desired speed is now shown graphically and in colour, and indicates when the system is "active". In addition, the driver's settings for the major PPC parameters of Vmax and Vmin are now permanently stored in the onboard computer.
Well ahead in Europe
Over the course of time, practically oriented refinements such as these play their part in ensuring that the new Mercedes-Benz Actros Euro VI has rapidly become a successful model for both transport operators and its manufacturer. Fleets are able to further optimise their total vehicle costs, and thanks to customer satisfaction the manufacturer has full order books.
With a market share of 23 percent In Europe, the Mercedes-Benz Actros is the market leader in the heavy-duty truck segment from 16 t permissible gross vehicle weight. This successful model also holds the top position with a 20.5 percent market share in the hotly contested sub-segment of heavy-duty tractor units. Extended shift hours at the plant in Wörth and extra production shifts on Saturdays speak for themselves.