Clean, quiet and economical: the Econic NGT from Mercedes-Benz
Successful debut of an Econic NGT semi-truck in plant supply operations at Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria
Pilot application as part of the “Clean Heavy Duty” A3 Plus research project, conducted in cooperation with Vienna Technical University, the Graz Energy Agency, Mercedes-Benz Austria, Magna Steyr, and the shipping company Frikus
Vienna Technical University and the Graz Energy Agency have teamed up with Mercedes-Benz Austria, Magna Steyr, and the shipping company Frikus to find out how much a natural gas-driven Economic NGT reduces noise and emissions of CO2 and pollutants compared to a conventional diesel-powered truck. To determine this, an all-new Econic NGT 1828 semi-truck is being tested in plant supply operations at Magna Steyr. Daimler provided the test vehicle for this pioneering project, which is being supported by various government authorities, including the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, the State of Styria, and the Environmental Agency of the City of Graz.
20 percent less CO2, 30 percent less nitrogen dioxide emissions
Preliminary assessments are quite conclusive, as project coordinator Prof. Ernst Pucher from the Technical University of Vienna states that the Econic NGT not only cut noise in half, it also reduced CO2 emissions by around 20 percent and nitrogen dioxide emissions by about 30 percent compared to diesel-powered vehicles. CO2 emissions were reduced thanks to the approximately 10 percent lower fuel consumption (26.5 kg of natural gas/100 km), compared to a diesel-powered truck.
Another aspect is also important for Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik: A sustained reduction of CO2, pollutant, and particulate emissions makes it easier to meet trade law requirements and therefore helps to safeguard the production location for the long-term. In addition, the truck has been certified as an Environmentally Enhanced Vehicle (EEV). The Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik plant in the area of Graz, Austria, is one of the largest industrial facilities in the region. A total of 100 heavy-duty trucks handle the logistics operations for the production process, covering a total of about 32,000 km every day on their runs.
Mercedes-Benz Econic: efficient and stress-minimizing operation
A true special purpose vehicle for municipal, delivery, and garbage collection services, the Mercedes-Benz Econic has everything it takes for use in a wide variety of sectors as a waste disposal, firefighting, and airport ground service vehicle, as well as a tanker, furniture delivery truck, and milk collection and heating oil delivery vehicle. The Econic’s low-floor cab containing up to four seats also offers the possibility of quick entering and exiting and enough space to accommodate the driver and the entire truck crew. The concept provides an outstanding view and ergonomics that are particularly important for plant transport and maneuvering. In combination, the Econic’s properties enable drivers to operate the truck in an safe, efficient and stress-minimizing manner while also ensuring maximum environmental compatibility.
The Econic NGT is becoming a “green hit”
Thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Econic’s natural gas drive, the vehicle emissions are lower than those allowed by the EEV standard, currently the most stringent in the world. The engine produces neither CO2 nor particulates, and is also extremely quiet. This M 906 LAG natural gas engine generates 205 kW (279 hp) from a displacement of 6.88 liters. Power is transferred by a six-speed automatic transmission. Because the Econic is an Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV), it is permitted to bear the “Blue Angel” seal and may also be driven in any low-emission zone. Such attributes offer a very convincing argument, which is why more and more Econics are now being used in municipalities.
The Econic, first unveiled in May 1998 at the “Entsorga” trade fair in Cologne, was considered a niche model for quite some time. The vehicle already had a natural gas engine when it was presented, whereby this engine was produced by the Group’s NAW (Nutzfahrzeugwerke Arbon Wetzikon) subsidiary, and was later continually enhanced at the then Center of Expertise for Low-Emission Commercial Vehicles at the Mannheim engine plant. Still, diesel fuel was cheap in the 1990s, and only a few municipal utilities were experimenting with natural gas drives. However, with increasing environmental awareness, rising diesel prices, and more stringent air quality regulations, the versatile specialist has become a “green hit” that is now improving cleanliness and air quality in more and more major European cities. Athens, for example, recently ordered 108 Econics to reduce the levels of smog the Greek capital is frequently subjected to.