Mercedes-Benz Econic as gas-powered semitrailer tractor
Viano "X-clusive" and Actros "Truck 'n' Roll Edition"
Show stand in Hall 4 covering over 3600 square metres
At the RAI International Commercial Vehicle Show being held in Amsterdam from October 26 - November 3, 2007, Mercedes-Benz is presenting a broad cross-section of its current model range and transport-related services over an exhibition area measuring 3600 m² in size.
A series of product firsts can be found amongst the eleven vans and ten trucks on show on the Mercedes-Benz stand. These include two special-edition models: the Viano "X-clusive" and the Actros "Truck 'n' Roll Edition", which is designed as a tribute to all truck drivers.
Making its world debut is the gas-powered, semitrailer tractor version of the Mercedes-Benz Econic, which will be available to buy from 2008 with a standard wheelbase of just 3450 mm.
World premiere: gas-powered Mercedes-Benz Econic NGT 1828 as a semitrailer tractor for urban and short-radius distribution
Particulate pollution, CO2 emissions, noise levels – the demands imposed by environmental legislation on vehicles used for urban transport are becoming ever more stringent. At the RAI, Mercedes-Benz is unveiling its response to this development in the form of the Econic NGT 1828 with natural gas drive (NGT = Natural Gas Technology) as a semitrailer tractor with a wheelbase of only 3450 mm. This drive unit's credentials include CO2 emissions that are 20% lower when measured against a comparable diesel-powered vehicle, CO2-neutral performance if regenerative biogas is used, far less particulate matter discharge and a substantial reduction in noise levels, which is particularly beneficial when making deliveries to city-centre businesses in the early hours of the morning.
The gas-powered Econic is purpose-made for the following types of applications: transporting foodstuffs or furniture from depots on the city outskirts, for example, to businesses in the city centre, or intra-factory transport of goods which are manufactured in three shifts, meaning they also have to be moved at night and therefore quietly.
These applications are complemented by "light-duty, short-radius distribution". This is how the Econic with liquefied natural gas drive (LNG) will be deployed by Dutch logistics firm Harry Vos, one of Europe's major freight carriers. A vehicle that is painted in the company's volcano orange colour and additionally equipped with a top-sleeper cab can already be seen at the Amsterdam show.
This exhibition vehicle showcases two alternative technologies for natural-gas tanks: firstly, the CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) variant with a range of around 350 km, and secondly the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) variant, an ongoing development project with a range of some 800 km.
The Mercedes-Benz Econic with gas drive complies with EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) regulations, which are even tighter than Euro 5.
Quite apart from environmental concerns, fuel savings are also a major factor when opting for a gas-powered Mercedes-Benz Econic. Indeed, fuel costs can be cut by between 30 and 60% overall, as natural gas (CNG) only costs 60 to 90 cents per kg, and the high-efficiency lean-burn gas engine consumes around ten per cent less gas than the diesel burned by a comparable diesel engine.
Mercedes-Benz Actros: unique "Truck 'n' Roll Edition" model
The "Truck 'n' Roll Edition" model from the Actros range, that is on show at the RAI, should set the pulse of all truck drivers racing. The breathtaking exterior is complemented by a cab in which no expense has been spared on materials, while making it very homely at the same time.
The design was inspired by the trucker anthem "Truck 'n' Roll Rules", which was jointly dedicated to all truckers by Mercedes-Benz and country rock band "The BossHoss". The show truck's sand-coloured paint finish is decorated with classic Western themes: wild horses gallop along the driver's side, while the co-driver's side is adorned by a herd of bison. The work of art is protected by six layers of clear coat.
"The best or nothing at all" was the objective set for conversion of the 6x4 semitrailer tractor, which several specialist teams worked to achieve. The brush guards, protective grilles over the windows, double-sided exhaust system, wings and rear bumper of the Truck 'n' Roll Edition are all made from chromed stainless steel – just like the entire frame covering.
The interior's specification includes two beds and a seating area with a table and refrigerator. Alcantara-look and leather-look upholstery was chosen for the appointments. A burr-walnut-effect finish that is every bit as impressive as a genuine wood trim was airbrushed onto the remaining plastic surfaces. This, together with the cognac and light-coloured trim panels, makes the cab feel as exclusive as it is cosy.
The addition of a Lenovo IBM ThinkPad T Series notebook and built-in UMTS mobile phone transforms the Actros Truck 'n' Roll Edition into an ideal workstation, allowing the driver to communicate online with ease. The concealed built-in docking station with 17-inch flat screen makes a perfect television – a DVB–T receiver ensures crystal-clear reception out on the road. Nine speakers create a flawless surround sound, whether it is from a favourite CD or DVD or simply when listening to the radio. Blue ambient lighting can provide a perfect match for the audio experience, depending on the driver's mood.
As for the technical credentials of the Truck 'n' Roll Edition, it is based on a three-axle Actros 2660 LS 6x4 semitrailer tractor. The V8 engine delivers 440 kW (598 hp) and 2800 Nm of torque at 1080 rpm. The Truck 'n' Roll Edition is furthermore equipped with Mercedes Power-Shift, the Telligent braking system including ABS and ASR, as well as a Voith retarder.
Truck 'n' Roll Edition – the detachable body parts:
Newly developed brush guard made from stainless steel with a high-gloss chromed finish
Roof-lamp bracket made from special flexible parts with LED rotating beacons
Protective window grilles with a high-gloss chromed finish and two laser-inscribed three-pointed stars
Air horns on sides with excellent sound
Eight chromed stainless steel steps
Beautifully styled wheel trims – a classic jumbo development
Protective tubes at sides with Hella side marker lamps
Raised instrument panel support
Full-size frame cover in an elaborate, custom-made design with fluorescent LED rings and laser-inscribed, chromed three-pointed stars
Exhaust system with a particularly eye-catching look
Wings are secured with new-style retaining brackets
Understated rear bumper with extra-robust mounting
Truck 'n' Roll Edition – the interior:
Hand-tailored seat covers in cognac-coloured Alcantara-look upholstery
Leather-look cab trim with over one thousand buttons incorporated into it
Airbrushed burr-walnut finish on instrument panel and cupboard doors
Seating area with drop-down table
Truck 'n' Roll Edition – the multimedia equipment:
Navigation system with TMC
Video/audio DVD player
17-inch flat screen
DVB–T receiver for TV and radio
High-end car audio system
Structure-borne sound woofer, plus four bass and four tweeter speakers
iPod and MP3 player port (USB)
Bluetooth application for mobile communications
Lenovo IBM ThinkPad T Series
Built-in WLAN-capable UMTS mobile phone
Mercedes-Benz Actros: base vehicle for the Truck 'n' Roll Edition
No matter whether it takes the guise of a semitrailer tractor or a flatbed truck, with its wide range of cab, wheelbase, suspension and drive variants the Actros has all the right answers when it comes to the tough demands of long-distance haulage, heavy-duty, short-radius distribution and construction-site applications. The same can also be said of its engines. The line-up starts with compact V6 engines with a displacement of 12 litres, offering a choice of six power ratings ranging from 235 kW (320 hp) and 1650 Nm of torque of up to 350 kW (476 hp) and 2300 Nm of torque. If even greater output and pulling power is called for, there are the V8 drive units with a displacement of 15.9 litres. These come in three different power ratings, extending from 375 kW (510 hp) and 2400 Nm of pulling power up to 440 kW (598 hp) and 2800 Nm. The Actros redefines standards with Active Brake Assist as well as the current generation of the "Mercedes Power-Shift" transmissions.
With the aid of Mercedes Power-Shift, the drive system in the Actros operates exceptionally efficiently. Here, non-synchromesh, fully automated 12-speed manual transmissions (16-speed for specialised applications) are combined with highly advanced control technology. The 12-speed transmissions are available in the following torque ratings: 2100 Nm (model G 211-12), 2800 Nm (model G 281-12, direct-drive version) and 3300 Nm (model G 330-12).
Thanks to its sophisticated technology and the range of systems available, the Mercedes-Benz Actros is also able to offer a most comprehensive safety specification. Active Brake Assist continues to stand out amongst the safety systems: in critical situations, this assistance system helps to minimise the risk of a rear-end collision with a vehicle in front, or at least considerably lessen the consequences of such a collision.
An Actros 5044 AK 10 x 8 is just one of the Mercedes-Benz truck models on show at the RAI. This is a specially produced model for the Dutch market, featuring as it does a lifting axle that enables a permissible GVW of 50 t to be achieved. Such chassis usually serve as the basis for dump trucks or concrete mixers.
Mercedes-Benz Axor: redeveloped technology featuring Mercedes
Power-Shift and safety systems
Making its Mercedes-Benz Axor debut is the "Mercedes Power-Shift" automated 12-speed manual transmission. Power-Shift is initially available for the Axor 1836, 1840 and 1843 semitrailer tractors with a 12-litre engine developing between 265 kW (360 hp)/1850 Nm and 315 kW (428 hp)/2100 Nm. From the start of next year, the three-axle 6x2 chassis (Axor 2536 -- 2543) will also become available with Mercedes Power-Shift as an option. Mercedes Power-Shift increases payload by 50 kg compared to the 16-speed Telligent gearshift, and by 40 kg when measured against the 9-speed manual shift.
The chief qualities of this new transmission option are yet greater efficiency plus faster, smoother gear changes, meaning added benefit for the customer. At the same time, the inherent advantages of the range-change/splitter gearshift, that has been kept light by dispensing with a synchromesh in the three-speed main transmission, go hand-in-hand with the strengths of the Mercedes-Benz Axor. Geared in no small measure towards applications where payload is of key importance, this model series truly comes into its own when used for heavy-duty, short-radius distribution, as well as long-distance haulage operations up to a certain distance and length of time. It is precisely in such applications that the benefits of a fully automated manual transmission can be fully brought to bear.
With a view to enabling active accident prevention, Mercedes-Benz offers an array of "Telligent" safety systems not just for the Actros, but for the Axor too. These systems are designed to help drivers bring critical situations under control. They include Telligent stability control, Telligent Lane Assistant and Telligent proximity control, plus, on twin-axle and three-axle flatbed trucks, Telligent roll control.
Mercedes-Benz Atego: now with Euro 5 too
In its role as a highly versatile short-radius distribution truck, the Mercedes-Benz Atego's destinations often lie in city centres. This makes the fact that it is already available with Blue-Tec 5 technology, just like its larger siblings the Axor and Actros, all the more important. Blue-Tec 5 reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by a further 43% compared to the current Euro 4 emissions standard. Besides this, the new Blue-Tec diesel technology brings about a major reduction in particulate emissions too.
The SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology that has been incorporated to comply with Euro 5 heralds additional benefits too, namely low fuel consumption, reduced toll charges and a lower rate of depreciation. In Holland, the extra cost for Blue-Tec 5 – which is the brand name of the system used specifically by Mercedes-Benz – is furthermore subsidised by the Dutch government to the tune of as much as €2500.
The Mercedes-Benz Atego range comprises light and medium-duty trucks and semitrailer tractors with permissible GVWs varying from 6.5t up to 15t, and even 16t if the load capacity is uprated. Since its launch in 1998, over 200,000 Atego models have been delivered to customers. The excellent reliability of the Atego makes it ideally suited to any of the multitude of short-radius distribution applications: from refrigerated goods delivery to trades vehicle to furniture transport. Its optimised lifecycle costs -- resulting partly from its low fuel consumption and the swift, flexible services that are available for maintenance and repair work -- are just one of the aspects appreciated by customers. The Atego also proves tremendously popular with buyers on account of its remarkable durability and high resale value.
Unimog U 20: due for market launch in early 2008
The new Unimog U 20 has attracted enormous interest each time it has made an appearance, be it at the International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover or the Bauma trade fair for the construction industry in Munich. The first vehicles are due to be delivered to customers in the 1st quarter of 2008. The new compact implement carrier is available with a permissible GVW of either 7.5t or 8.5t, and offers the proven Unimog technology, but combined with a lower vehicle weight and exceptional manoeuvrability – and all at a favourable price. So, whereas the Unimog U 20 builds on the same chassis and drive technology of the classic Unimog, its wheelbase has been shortened to 2700 mm. Power is provided by the Mercedes-Benz OM 904 LA four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which generates 110 kW (150 hp) from its displacement of 4.25 litres. The Blue-Tec unit conforms to the Euro 4 EU emissions directive. Power is transmitted via the UG 100/8 eight-speed manual transmission, that can be extended to include eight working gears. In contrast to the U 300, the new Unimog U 20 features a cab-over-engine design with an all-steel cab. The cab is easily accessibly, thanks to its wide-opening doors, and has enough room inside for three occupants.
The key technical data for the new Unimog U 20 reads as follows: it has a turning circle of 12.8 m, and measures around 2700 mm high, which is particularly handy when headroom is low. Kerb weight is around 5.1 t, including a 2.25-m tipper platform. With a maximum permissible GVW of 8.5t, this leaves 3.4t of payload for addon implements and/or cargo.
Despite its compact dimensions, the U 20 boasts impressive performance capabilities. The axle load ratings of 4.8t at both the front and rear allow all manner of implements to be attached to the front end. The mechanical front PTO shaft is able to drive implements such as wood shredders, and can handle operating loads up to maximum engine output (110 kW/150 hp). The factory-fitted dual-circuit hydraulic system is designed for raising, lowering and tilting snowploughs, as well as driving spreaders. The result is high flexibility and the possibility of cost-efficient, all-year-round operation.
Vans: the high-class Viano "X-clusive"
Of the eleven van models on show on the Mercedes-Benz stand, one is celebrating its premiere: the "Viano X-clusive". It is derived from the Viano "Ambiente" and driven by powerful V6 engines. From the outside, the Viano X-clusive is a picture of dynamism and sporting flair, featuring a silver-look radiator grille, specially developed designer bumpers at the front and rear with integral spoilers, designer side skirts, a chrome-plated exhaust tailpipe and striking 18-inch light-alloy wheels shod with 245/45 tyres.
Inside, the X-clusive pampers its occupants with high levels of comfort: after being greeted by illuminated entrances and soft carpeting, the driver and passengers settle into the six individual seats upholstered in anthracite-coloured leather. As an option, the seats may be specified in exclusive Twin Leather/Alcantara upholstery in a pebble and anthracite finish. As is customary with the Viano, the rear seats can be moved in increments of 25 millimetres, and also rearranged to face each other. Bench seats may be selected as an alternative to the individual seats. The standard-specification multifunction steering wheel, the gearshift lever and sections of the door panelling are likewise trimmed in leather. Elegant trim strips in two different burr-walnut designs add extra emphasis to the feeling of refinement.
Also helping to keep all aboard the Viano X clusive feeling completely at their ease are the "Thermotronic" automatic climate control and the self-levelling rear air suspension. Drivers, meanwhile, can rely on the assistance of the standard "Parktronic" and headlamp cleaning systems.
The drive unit and chassis at work in the Viano X-clusive are likewise the epitome of dynamism and comfort. Exceptionally for a vehicle in the Viano class, the new model comes exclusively with six-cylinder engines delivering abundant power. First, there is the highly sophisticated V6 CDI, which musters 150 kW (204 hp) from its three-litre displacement, and an impressive peak torque of 440 Nm. The alternative to this is a 3.5-litre V6 petrol powerplant generating 190 kW (258 hp) and 340 Nm. This engine distinguishes itself by virtue of its remarkable smoothness and harmonious power delivery, and is the very same unit that has already delighted Mercedes-Benz passenger car customers across nearly the full spectrum of model series. Known by the designation M 272, it propels the Viano from stationary to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds. Power is transferred to the wheels by a five-speed automatic transmission, as it is in the diesel variant. Both engines are partnered by the latest emission control systems, allowing them to meet EU4 regulations. And making economical use of fuel benefits not only the owner's wallet but, above all, the environment too.
Offering the greatest possible level of safety comes as naturally to the Viano X clusive as to any Viano model. The fade-resistance brakes are accompanied by the latest-generation ESP® system, including ABS, ASR, Brake Assist (BAS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBV). Thorax sidebags for both driver and co-driver complement the front airbags.
The Viano X-clusive is based on the high-class Ambiente design and equipment line. It is available in two different lengths - 4.75 m and 4.99 m - and comes exclusively in an elegant metallic paint finish, with prospective buyers having a choice of either brilliant silver or obsidian black.
Vans: high standard of safety, attractive gas drive system
Safety is a major concern of the Vans product unit, which encompasses vans for both private and commercial use, the Viano people carrier, as well as camper vans. Of the many models on offer, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in particular blazes a trail in its class, with its comprehensive safety specification and exemplary handling characteristics.
At the 2007 RAI Show, the Vans product unit is presenting the Sprinter 316 NGT with natural gas drive as a new highlight within the Sprinter range that will become available to buy in 2008.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
With a choice of three wheelbases, four lengths and three different heights, the new Sprinter offers an even greater number of variants than its highly successful predecessor. The standard specification has been extended and now includes features such as power windows, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, central locking with radio remote control, a six-speed transmission, wide-angle mirrors and the advanced electronic stability program ADAPTIVE ESP®. The crewcab Sprinter in the new model range is always supplied with four doors.
The diesel engines for the new Sprinter have power outputs ranging from 65 kW (88 hp) up to 135 kW (184 hp). All of the power units have a clean-running design that meets either Euro 4 or EU4/III standards, and come equipped with a particulate filter as standard. Oil-change intervals of 40,000 km equate to driving once around the world. Power transmission is handled by a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with the option of a five-speed automatic transmission (standard on 190 kW/258 hp petrol model).
All model variants, including the chassis, are fitted as standard with the very latest in electronic stability programs, ADAPTIVE ESP®. In addition to the usual parameters, this system is also able to make allowance for mass and centre of gravity. Start-off assist can be added as an option, to prevent the vehicle from rolling back unintentionally during a hill start as the driver switches from the brake pedal to the accelerator. All Sprinter models ride on 16-inch wheels as standard, enabling the inclusion of brake discs with a larger diameter.
Vito 4x4 with all-wheel drive, Vito 120 CDI with V6 and 150 kW (204 hp)
Quite apart from the numerous body variants made possible by two wheelbases, three body lengths, two heights, plus two gross vehicle weights, the Vito's other prime asset is its rear-wheel drive that has such a beneficial effect on handling and traction. Its list of standard equipment remains unsurpassed, and is capped off by the inclusion in all models of the latest-generation Electronic Stability Program (ESP®).
Safety is also the name of the game in the new Vito 4x4 with all-wheel drive. The electronically controlled traction system 4ETS, that allows variable power distribution between the individual wheels, already has a proven track record in a host of models bearing the Mercedes star. The new Vito 120 CDI marks the beginning of a new chapter: its V6 diesel engine with an output of 150 kW (204 hp) and a peak torque of 440 Nm takes technology, power delivery and smoothness into a new dimension for diesel-powered vans. The performance figures make impressive reading: the Vito 120 CDI completes the sprint from 0 100 km/h in just 8.8 seconds and attains a top speed of 198 km/h.
Blue-Tec successfully established on the market
In early 2005, Daimler became the first manufacturer to introduce the pioneering "Blue-Tec" diesel technology. Over 100,000 Blue-Tec trucks have now been sold, the majority of which are equipped with Blue-Tec 5.
Following its introduction in 2005, Blue-Tec was incorporated successively into the model portfolio, starting with the vehicles for long-distance haulage, meaning it became available to customers long before the statutory implementation dates. Most truck manufacturers in Europe have opted for the same approach as Blue-Tec diesel technology, involving aftertreatment of the exhaust gases by means of SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) using the service fluid additive Ad-Blue.
The advantages of Blue-Tec diesel technology are manifold: Blue-Tec means compliance with Euro-4 and future Euro-5 emission limits, along with absolute cost-effectiveness. Blue-Tec is furthermore able to boost a truck's resale value, meaning that Blue Tec diesel technology adds up to more economical operation in every respect for customers.
The system's complete cost effectiveness stems primarily from the fuel savings made, with fuel consumption reduced by around 2-5% compared to Euro 3. With long-distance haulage trucks covering an average of 150,000 km a year, this equates to an annual fuel saving of 1000 – 2500 litres. Blue-Tec also represents a major fuel saving when measured against other technologies for reducing pollutant emissions.
"Classic Safety Pack" and "Top Safety Pack" for extra peace of mind
During a recent, unprecedented roadshow through Europe attended by both politicians and the media, the importance of safety-enhancing assistance systems was promoted by the Mercedes-Benz Actros "Safety Truck", that had been equipped with the full array of safety systems available. During practical demonstration drives covering some 30 different stations, the Mercedes-Benz Safety Truck clearly proved just how effective the various safety technologies are.
Following the introduction of ABS, EPS and ASR in the 1980s and electronically controlled braking systems ten years later, a series of additional safety and assistance systems have been launched for Mercedes-Benz trucks since 2000. Cue the Lane Assistant, Stability control, Roll control as well as Proximity control. The radar-based proximity control system also serves as the basis for Active Brake Assist, which is able to independently apply the brakes with full force once a collision with a vehicle ahead is deemed to be unavoidable.
The three driver assistance systems Proximity control, the Lane Assistant and Stability control can be ordered together with a driver's airbag and Voith retarder as a "Classic Safety Pack", which represents a most attractive price saving of around 30 per cent compared to ordering the systems separately. Since September 2006, customers have also been able to opt for the "Top Safety Pack", which adds Active Brake Assist to the "Classic Safety Pack" specification.
A range of services have been created which help to optimise the customer's fleet, allow cashless vehicle operation throughout Europe, offer the security of round-the-clock breakdown assistance, and much more besides.
FleetBoard – the online way to greater efficiency: this internet-based telematics service enables information to be exchanged permanently between driver, vehicle and headquarters.
CharterWay – more than just vehicle hire: CharterWay reduces the amount of administration work that has to be carried out for fleets to an absolute minimum. Depending on the modules selected, the entire operating costs can be paid in monthly instalments.
Mercedes-Service Card – cashless mobility throughout Europe: this card holds the key to a pan-European service network. It allows drivers to travel in safety, by giving them a cashless means of paying for everything from vehicle refuelling to any work carried out at authorised Mercedes-Benz workshops.
Service 24 h – mobile assistance around the clock: Service 24 h and its mobile workshops can be called upon anywhere in Europe, at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. The number to ring in the case of breakdown is: 00800 17777777.
Truck Store – used trucks backed by a warranty: the Truck Stores have a wide choice of used trucks available. They are able to offer professional advice, service agreements, financial services, as well as warranties for the vehicles.
Accessories and genuine parts: the accessories range features numerous articles designed to relieve the burden on drivers during the working day. Meanwhile, genuine replacement parts ensure that the Mercedes-Benz truck they drive continues to function safely and reliably.
The practical Mercedes-Benz trucks "Collection": the Collection features all manner of practical items whose design, quality and operation match the high standards of Mercedes-Benz.