Mercedes-Benz Actros in ‘Fuel Duel’

Diesel Industry News
Mercedes-Benz Actros in ‘Fuel Duel’

From Northern Finland to Southern Italy, from Spain’s most westernmost point to Romania’s easternmost corner – the “Fuel Duel” fuel-consumption comparison test of Mercedes-Benz Trucks takes place in 22 countries in Europe. To this end, 90 Actros trucks are on the road, predominantly tractor units of models 1842 LS and 1845 LS with Euro VI emission control technology.

The 18-tonne and also 25-tonne trucks bearing the three-pointed star have competed in 1000 “Fuel Duels” against the most important European competitors – and covered some 5-million km in all. And the Mercedes-Benz Actros has won more than 90 percent of these duels, with a fuel consumption advantage over competitors of about 10.5 percent on average.

The first fuel-consumption comparison test got under way in the Netherlands about two and half years ago. The conditions remain unchanged to this day: the Mercedes-Benz Actros takes on the jobs of a competitor vehicle in a fleet and handles its loads and routes for two weeks.

The driver receives an in-depth briefing in advance, and is initially accompanied by a professional trainer or an experienced member of the Mercedes-Benz Trucks sales team. Afterwards, the driver performs his usual jobs with the Actros by himself, supported by the FleetBoard telematics system.

Among other things, the Actros trucks are equipped with the streamlined StreamSpace cab for extremely low drag and low fuel consumption, as well as with the Mercedes PowerShift “economy” driving programme, which supports a particularly economical driving style.

Furthermore, they all are powered by efficient BlueTec 6 engines, which in conjunction with the standard-specification long final drives deliver extra torque in 12th gear when needed. The anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and the FleetBoard telematics system also support an economical driving style.

Other features include radiator shutters, which improve drag when closed and consequently help save fuel, and the two-stage water pump, which is standard equipment on every Actros truck.

Martin König, responsible for truck sales at the Mercedes-Benz Centre, Hildesheim, recognised the opportunities provided by the Fuel Duels early on, and he accounts for four of the 86 fue consumption comparison tests conducted in Germany so far.

One test has already been won, another is currently in progress, and two are in the pipeline. “The Fuel Duel offers the unique opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of the Actros to our customers in a highly objective way,” he says..

“At the same time, drivers can use the FleetBoard telematics service to examine and improve their economical driving style”. FleetBoard Performance Analysis tracks factors of relevance to wear and fuel consumption such as anticipatory driving, changes in speed or braking behaviour for example. As a result the vehicle and driver behaviour can be depicted and analysed.

Completely finished on the other hand is the 1,000th fuel consumption comparison test in Europe, which was conducted at Kreykenbohm Forwarding Company in Holzminden, Germany.

The Fuel Duel gave Martin König the opportunity to place Actros vehicles for the first time in a fleet of 22 trucks utterly dominated by the competition.

Willi-Ingo Kreykenbohm leads the family-owned company established in 1924 in keeping with the motto of “You are the top dog with us”.

Kreykenbohm is vigilant about the efficiency of the tractor units, which mainly operate in daily container transport between Hamburg, Bremerhaven and the company‘s own container terminals in Holzminden and Adelebsen.

On average, each Kreykenbohm truck drives up to 120,000km annually. The average fuel consumption without the Actros is 29L/100km. This figure had to be beaten in the Fuel Duel., and the Actros 1845 LS succeeded with an average overall consumption of 26.5L/100km. This means that over 120,000km this results in savings of at least 3,000 litres and a CO2 reduction of 7.9 tonnes.

Based on the result of the Fuel Duel, high praise is heaped not only on the Actros 1845 LS, but on its driver Christian Krukemeyer as well. According to the FleetBoard analysis, the graph of all gears indicates that gear changes were economical in 89 percent of all instances.

The driver made excellent use of the available assistance systems such as the anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and consequently the Actros frequently operated in the fuel-saving “Eco Roll” mode.

FleetBoard Performance Analysis also attests to the fact that Krukemeyer made economical use of the two braking systems in the vehicle: he predominantly used the wear-free brake when needing to slow down.

All this demonstrates: the man at the wheel was a real professional. Krukemeyer scored 9.67 on the FleetBoard evaluation scale from 1 to 10.

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