Mount Buller Alpine Area Transport owner Evan Lowing cites exceptional fuel economy as the standout feature of their new Actros 2658 6x4 that joined the fleet six months ago.
Photo: Power to burn, looking sharp, and frugal on the fuel, Evan Lowing is all praise for the new German workhorse in his fleet.
You might remember senior driver Paul Thomas from Mount Buller Alpine Area Transport (MBAAT) and the review we did on the company’s Freightliner Coronado FL114 about 12 months ago. You’ll recall he suggested we come back and check out new Actros 2658 when it arrived. So in the middle of one of the hottest Victorian summers on record, we dropped in to see how the new Actros was travelling. The overall stance of the Actros is dynamic, muscular, and finished with four roof-mounted driving lights. Centre stage on the imposing grille is the three-pointed star. Paul and MBAAT owner Evan Lowing can testify that the new aerodynamic design and the overall efficiency have improved fuel economy significantly over the previous model. Under the cabin is the all-new OM473 16-litre in-line 6-cylinder engine, and getting the 425kW (580hp) and 2800Nm (2065lb/ft) to the back wheels is the Mercedes-Benz G281 PowerShift 3 automated manual transmission, a direct drive 12-speed. The rear axles are Mercedes-Benz 440 hypoid drive and on this particular model the legs are long, with 2.533:1 in order to optimise fuel economy. “Once we had some instruction on how to set up the Actros’ EcoRoll function to operate through its maximum parameters, we really started noticing huge fuel economy gains,” Paul explained.
On a run up the Hume Freeway in the new MBAAT 2658 Actros, the overall trip statistics were 61 tonne GCM, with an average of 2.2km/l over 826km in 9.33 hours with an average speed of 87km/h.
While the results validate the Mercedes-Benz information on economy and efficiency, the real lesson is brings home according to Paul is the importance of driver training as each engine and driveline from each manufacturer have particular peculiarities. “Firstly, driving economically does not penalise trip times,” Evan explained. “Secondly, we’re saving approximately 0.4km/l in fuel compared with our older truck, which roughly translates to saving half the truck’s payment in fuel costs per month.”