by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

The new Mercedes-Benz Econic: Innovative, efficient, ergonomic and environmentally acceptable

That the new Econic has quite a number of important other innovations apart from the environmentally acceptable high performance Euro VI engines can be seen at first glance by the modern design of the low entry cab – the heart of the Econic concept. The spacious cab with its ergonomic entry and exit has been rigorously upgraded with a much more advanced design to make working a great deal more efficient. There are also innovations on the chassis – the wide range of chassis versions allow the Econic to be used for a very wide variety of applications. The new arrangement of the power units behind the cab as well as other alterations to the frame makes mounting bodies easier. Despite the increased weight or additional Euro VI components it has been possible to retain the payload as it was up to now by weight-saving measures on chassis and frame. A great number of components have been taken from the volume manufacturing of the large-scale truck production such as the electronic systems, chassis components, new drivetrain and operating controls. Altogether the Econic is a completely new vehicle with the exception of the time-tried bodyshell of the cab.

The cab with a modern design, ergonomic and designed for the job

At the very first glance it is quite clear that the new Econic is a member of the new Mercedes-Benz truck family. The new radiator grille, the stronger bumpers and standard LED daytime running lamps identify the modern design of the Econic cab.

The new arrangement immediately catches the eye when getting into the low entry cab, which could be retained despite the required additional vehicle components needed to comply with the new Euro VI emission standards.

Econic drivers and crew will really appreciate the new cab with its time-tried low entry and the unusually spacious working area it provides. The completely revised cockpit with its new multifunction steering wheel allowing the instrument cluster display and the radio to be reached even more easily, as well as the switches which can be individually assigned and placed, give the driver the best working conditions.

The relocation of the parking brake and transmission controls at the same height as the steering wheel makes them easier to use, safer and more ergonomic. There is more stowage space with the lockable stowage compartments over the passenger seats and the cup holder integrated in the central console. Behind the passenger seats there is also more space for storing up to three bottles.

Other highlights in the cab are the new arrangement of the air vents and the electric sunblind which give the cab a much better working atmosphere in combination with the better insulation of the cab and engine tunnel, and of course, obviously, the low entry with the fully-glazed bi fold door on the side away from the traffic.

Reduction of emissions and particulate matter about 90 percent in comparison with Euro V

The European emission standards Euro VI really mean no less than a reduction of emissions and particulate matter by a total of 90 percent in comparison with Euro V. An important role on the way there has been played by the design of the greatly improved cooling system which deals efficiently with the additional cooling needed by the exhaust gas recirculation. In addition to the exhaust gas recirculation within the engine, the exhaust gas is cleaned by the closed particulate matter filter, AdBlue injection and the SCR catalytic converter. The BlueTec 6 filter systems are integrated in an exhaust gas aftertreatment unit with automatic electronic controls which regulate the cleaning of the exhaust gas with a multitude of engine and work parameters as required.

Up to four percent savings in fuel consumption

Just as with its volume-manufactured opposite numbers from Atego to Actros, Mercedes-Benz has also succeeded with the technological feat of using less fuel despite the greater energy and costs needed for cleaning the exhaust gas. Up to four percent fuel savings and up to 40 percent less AdBlue is the result. With its greater reliability and longer service intervals the repair and maintenance costs are also reduced, making the Econic more cost-effective than ever.

Two six-cylinder, 7.7 l OM 936 LA engines are used in the Econic with a basic output of 220 kW (299 hp) and a peak performance of 260 kW (354 hp). The new in-line engines deserve best marks in their class straightaway for all aspects. Construction features such as the cam shaft with shrunk on cam, forged and bolted conrod as well as a crankshaft designed for the greatest rigidity make it quite clear: these engines have been designed for a long, successful and efficient working life.

More output with lower rpm

The engine has been tuned exactly for the demanding work done by the Econic with top rpm of 1200 Nm or 1400 Nm. To sum up: the engines supply greater output with lower rpm. The modern Econic Euro VI engines also achieve very good results for their braking performance with the engine brake. 235 kW/2500 min braking power is available thanks to a double paced decompression engine brake. When the new standard engine brake is used, there will be less wear on the brake linings of the disc brakes installed on all axles and the temperature will also be clearly reduced.

Automatic transmission with new Eco-software

One great challenge to engine and transmission during the day-to-day work of the Econic is the stop-and-go traffic encountered in inner cities. That is why the Econic drivetrain also includes the six-gear automatic Allison transmission used up to now – and there could hardly be a more pleasant way of winding one’s way through dense city traffic. The automatic transmission also proves its ability for instance during the frequent stops and starts, e.g. for waste collection. The new generation Econic has been given the transmission fitted with Eco-software which saves fuel and gives a more comfortable ride.

The new Econic with gas-driven engine

Mercedes-Benz regards sustainability and conservation of resources as having a firm place in the company philosophy. Since 2002 and with more than a thousand vehicles, the Econic NGT has been operating successfully in many different countries. Whether it is fuelled with natural fossil gas or regenerative biogas, the Econic complies with the required emission standards on all counts and helps to make congested inner cities cleaner and more environmentally friendly. This is why Mercedes‑Benz is working on more advanced designs for the gas engine based on the new state-of-the-art generation of engine to comply with Euro VI emission standards.

Successful model with a great variety of versions

Initially the Econic will be supplied with 4x2, 6x4 and 6x2/4 axle configurations, with electro hydraulically progressive steered leading and trailed axles in the permitted gross vehicle weights 18 and 26 tonnes. As an option, it is possible to order specially customised vehicles tailored to the customer’s requirements. The two and three-axle versions are also available with various wheelbases – from compact and manoeuvrable with a length of 3450 mm up to 5700 mm. The cab is also available with two different heights: high (1745 mm interior height) and low (1295 mm). The heart of the Econic concept – since its introduction in 1998 more than 12,500 units have been produced – is the ergonomic low entry and very spacious cab with a one-step entry. This is a great improvement in working conditions, and also health wise, for any job where driver and crew have to leave the cab frequently. The Econic concept is long since a synonym for vehicles used for collection and delivery services.

Econic chassis: Versatile and with good body-mounting features

As the Econic can provide very different individual solutions for a wide number of different sectors, the current alterations to the chassis are of great importance for the body building industry. For instance, the Econic is used by Local Authorities for waste collection or sweeping vehicles, by delivery companies for food and drinks, as well as by fire services with a turntable ladder or as an auxiliary fire-extinguishing vehicle. In addition, the Econic is also used successfully as a tank or catering vehicle at airports. Uninterrupted hole-patterns in the side supports allow the position of the rear cross member of the chassis to be adjusted, and together with the new arrangement for the power units behind the cab makes mounting bodies easier and provides more space. And on top of that, the allowed weight for the front axle has been increased to eight tonnes.

Safety is very important for the new Econic

Time-tried and central parts of the Econic safety concept such as the low and easy entry and exit, the air suspension (which helps to keep the crew healthy), the large panoramic windscreen with its mirror system as well as the fully-glazed electro pneumatically operated bi-fold door on the passenger side away from the traffic all help to contribute both to the safety of the crew as well of other traffic and passers-by. The stability control system (ESP), introduced at an earlier date than legally required, makes the new Econic safer just like the electro pneumatic brake. These systems now supplement the existing anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the acceleration skid control (ASR) which play a central role in the Econic safety concept.

The Econic is also looked after perfectly as far as servicing, trouble diagnosis or repairs are concerned as Mercedes-Benz has over 1800 service stations in more than 130 countries to make sure that if need be the vehicles will be taken care of and kept in top condition. Special service packages and financial services round off the customer care.

To sum up, it is clear that the new Econic is setting new standards as far as economic efficiency, environmental acceptability, ergonomics and safety are concerned.


































Credits: Daimler AG

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