Making deliveries with the Econic NGT – the “environmental angel”
Mercedes-Benz Econic 1828 NGT for city logistics applications
The Mercedes-Benz Econic, the advanced, environmentally friendly, low-floor transport vehicle for municipal transportation, consolidation and short-radius distribution applications, continue to dominate in inner-city areas. The Mercedes-Benz Econic 1828 NGT chassis with eco-friendly natural gas is manufactured at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth.
The commercial vehicle division of Mercedes-Benz South Africa will showcase the Econic NGT at the Johannesburg International Motor Show early in October, as part of the brand’s strategy in demonstrating alternative drive systems that are on the road in everyday traffic today.
“The super-quiet and environmentally-friendly natural-gas variant of the Econic is proof in motion of how protecting the environment doesn’t have to be expensive. Natural-gas engines were introduced as an option on the Econic back in 2002. Todate more than 10 000 Econic trucks have been sold and 10% of these are NGT variants, approximately 1 000 units.
The vehicle is ideally suited for municipal service applications and all the stop-and-go traffic that goes with it,” says Christo Kleynhans, Product Manager, Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
Setting standards in technology and cleanliness
The Econic is driven by an EEV-certified in-line six-cylinder 900-series engine in the form of a mono-fuel natural gas drive. The M906 LAG engine produces 205 kW from a displacement of 6.9 litres.
The emissions produced by the Econic with natural gas drive do not contain any fine dust or particles. In addition, the gas drive also boasts low noise emissions. As a result, the Econic NGT has earned the right to bear the “Blue Angel” seal of approval. The Blue Angel is part of the association for the “Global Ecolabelling Network”, comprising 26 environmental labelling organisations worldwide.
Thanks to additional in-engine measures, the use of an Allison transmission as well as optimised soundproofing, it has been possible to achieve a further significant reduction in noise emissions down to 72 dBA, thus enabling the Econic to receive approval for round-the-clock operation – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, highlights the special role played by the Econic as the technology platform for the product portfolio of the Mercedes-Benz Truck Division and Daimler Trucks in the field of environmentally friendly drive technology.
Refrigerated transport even at night
In all highly-developed industrial countries, a great deal of significance is placed on climate protection and the preservation of a habitable environment. European guidelines have been implemented with these very aims in mind, such as the guideline EC 2001/547 which states that between 20 and 23 percent of road traffic must make use of alternative fuels by the year 2020.
Noise and emission limits are becoming increasingly stricter, and cities in large, densely populated areas, are only granting access to specific types of vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz Econic is one of these vehicles – with its environmentally friendly, quiet natural gas engine, it is granted access to all zones.
A number of European countries stipulate how loud or quiet vehicles and unloading activities are allowed to be between certain times. While diesel vehicles are able to meet the necessary requirements during the hours of 0700 hrs and 1900 hrs, outside of these hours only the Econic with its quiet gas engine, or electric vehicles – which are not yet available in the transport sector – are able to make the grade. Food logistics, for example, is a round-the-clock business. Operators employing the Mercedes-Benz Econic can move towards 24-hour, 365-day deliveries.
Positive driver feedback on safety and ergonomics
The Econic has long been the benchmark for vehicles with low-floor cab. It features a large wraparound windshield and a co-driver’s door which opens automatically at the push of a button. The cab has a level floor and provides plenty of headroom. The low entry is ideal for applications which involve having to frequently get in and out of the vehicle. The automatic transmission fitted as standard enables the driver to concentrate fully on the traffic conditions.
“Furthermore, the driver sits practically at eye level with pedestrians and enjoys optimum visibility – features which are praised by the drivers of these unique vehicles. This is also a big advantage, as pedestrians often stand and look at the quiet trucks in amazement, given that they are so different to regular trucks,” adds Kleynhans.
Econic – a success story
The story of the Econic began in 1998. The low-entry vehicle design was ahead of its time, and today’s success of the model series is testament to its suitability for a variety of applications. In the meantime, the Mercedes-Benz Econic range has come to comprise a complete modular system with 2, 3 and 4 axles.
The Econic is used widely in large cities, both nationally and internationally – whether in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Paris, Stockholm, Athens, Valencia and Amsterdam. The design benefits of the Econic are even in high demand in Singapore and Mexico. Due to the increasing unit quantities and high customer demand for Econic vehicles with natural gas and biogas engines, in 2009 production was completely relocated to the Special Vehicles product division in Wörth and Rhein.