Mercedes-Benz Econic urban tractor unit ready for operator trials

Mercedes-Benz Trucks said its new Econic urban tractor unit will be ready for real-life operator trials next month.

It features a deep, panoramic windscreen and full-height glazed passenger door, along with a low seating position that allows the driver to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians.

The 4×2 Econic 1835L tractor, which Freight in the City first revealed last year, will operate at a maximum gross combination weight of 36 tonnes.

It has a 7.7-litre straight-six engine, which transmits its 260 kW (354 hp) output via a six-speed Allison automatic gearbox. However, the manufacturer plans to offer its Mercedes PowerShift transmission in Econic models powered by the same engine before the end of 2017.

The tractor unit also incorporates a number of refinements to the Econic cab aimed at drivers and crew, including a taller, wider-opening driver’s door and a re-profiled floor to make cross-cab access easier.

It will make its public debut at this weekend’s (30 April-1 May) Truckfest in Peterborough, before being demonstrated to potential customers at Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Wentworth Park complex near Barnsley next week.

Following this, it will go on static display at the latest Mercedes-Benz RoadEfficiency Live event, which takes place at the Millbrook Proving Ground from 15-19 May. By then, the manufacturer anticipates “operators will be lining up to try the vehicle in ‘real life’ applications”.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks senior municipal sales & special applications manager  Philip Chance said: “Our experience over the last couple of years in London and elsewhere has proved that the safety benefits  the Econic offers in comparison to a conventional rigid truck chassis give it significant market appeal.

“It was a logical next step, therefore, to explore the potential for an Econic-based urban tractor. We have adapted the base unit built by the factory in Germany so that it is better-suited to a UK audience and are now keen to talk to operators, and to get their feedback on our new prototype.”

He added that the Econic was available with a wide range of camera and proximity alarms to enhance road safety, as well as including Active Brake Assist 3 technology as standard.

The truck is pictured here with a Transdek Duet Urban double-deck trailer, fitted with a Piek-compliant Thermo King SLXe Spectrum Whisper Pro transport refrigeration system for quiet operation.