Praise from owner for zero-downtime Mercedes-Benz Actros after reaching 750,000km

750,000km Actros

Owner-driver Rob Bill has praised the Mercedes-Benz Actros BigSpace tractor he bought new in 2014. Bill said: “Three quarters of a million km and not a day lost; not a single breakdown, no brake pads. Who knew Mercedes-Benz would be such a great move?”

Working as a subcontractor for Suffolk haulier Bartrums, Bill was persuaded to look at an Actros by a contact in the firm. The 2445 Actros features a small-wheeled mid-lift axle and is the first truck he purchased from new.

Having previously driven Swedish brands, Bill often felt short-changed. However, with the Mercedes, he said: “It’s the most comfortable vehicle I’ve driven and lived in.”

As well as the red exterior paint scheme, the Actros wears side skirts and a Hatcher air management kit, a chrome-trimmed grille and sun visor, lightbars and wheel trims. Since its acquisition, the Mercedes has pulled a variety of products in curtainside trailers between 38-tonne and 44-tonne GCW.

The purchase of the Actros was made easier by the East Anglia dealer, Orwell Truck & Van, as Bill was quickly sold by its demonstrator. “After three days the fuel consumption figures looked impressive, and a couple of days later, I asked the dealer to sort me out a price.”

Five years on, despite being told the choice to buy the Actros would “be a move I’d regret”, Bill described the Mercedes as a fantastic truck, which consistently returns between 9.5mpg and 10mpg – an improvement on his previous truck. 

MAN sees potential in platooning after pilot project with operator

MAN Truck platoon

MAN has seen further potential in platooning after the successful completion of a seven-month pilot project run alongside logistics company DB Schenker.

As part of research sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, drivers drove two electronically linked vehicles on the autobahn between Nuremberg and Munich branches of DB Schenker. Described as a “real-life platooning trial”, the trucks transported goods as opposed to concrete blocks used during other manufacturers’ trials. Through electronics, the trucks connected with the first dictating the speed and direction.

An MAN spokesman said: “The system allows the trucks to talk to each other. One press of a button in the cab is all it takes for the trucks to connect and start platooning.

“Should one driver wish to leave the platoon, he can by pressing the same button or, if drivers don’t want to platoon, they can decline invites from other trucks.”

Having covered approximately 35,000km with the trucks 15m to 21m apart, the drivers praised the comfort and the sense of safety provided by the platooning process. The project resulted in fuel savings of between 4% and 5%. 

Joachim Drees, chairman of the management board of MAN Truck & Bus, said: “We were able to show that platooning has the potential to contribute to the reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. First and foremost, we are pleased that the system works reliably and can increase safety on the motorway.”

Earlier this year, rival Daimler announced that it would not start any new truck platooning trials, having discovered that, in the real world, it offered just a 1% improvement in fuel economy.