Lancashire-based vegetable grower and distributor Huntapac has reported a welcome improvement in fuel economy since it replaced a clutch of Swedish-built trucks with five new Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units.
The company, which operates from a base in Holmes, near Preston, placed its order following the strong performance of a demonstrator loaned by Dealer Ciceley Commercials.
“We ran that vehicle for a couple of weeks, during which it posted some highly impressive fuel figures,” recalled Operations Director Will Hunter. “Overall, it averaged 10mpg, which compared very favourably to the 8-9mpg typically achieved by our 65- and 66-registered vehicles. The new trucks are already living up to that promise and we expect they’ll improve still further over time.”
Highly distinctive in their bright red paintwork, with colour-coded bumpers, grilles, and door mirror covers, Huntapac’s Actros 2548s have flat-floored BigSpace cabs and are powered by advanced 350 kW (476 hp) straight-six engines paired with smooth, efficient Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions. Like Ciceley Commercials’ demonstration unit, they are fitted with optional Predictive Powertrain Control systems, which also help to minimise diesel consumption.
Predictive Powertrain Control is an innovative cruise control system that employs digital 3D mapping and GPS data to scan the road ahead. Armed with this information it manages gear changes and vehicle speed, making full use of the truck’s EcoRoll function to reduce diesel consumption and CO2 emissions. The system can also enhance safety by promoting a relaxed driving style. Mercedes-Benz says its PPC technology can boost fuel efficiency by up to 5% on long journeys, although some operators have reported more substantial savings.
“We’re delighted with our new Actros,” enthused Mr Hunter. “They look great and have been well received by our drivers, while we’re also very encouraged by what we’ve seen so far of Ciceley Commercials. Its service in delivering these vehicles bang on time and in perfect condition was probably the best I’ve experienced. If the Dealer continues to hit the same high standards when it comes to back-up, as I fully expect it to do, I’ll be a happy man.”
He continued: “We have operated Mercedes-Benz trucks previously, although not within the last five years. Ciceley’s Fleet Sales Manager Guy Beech persuaded us to take a fresh look at the Actros and I’m very glad we did. We’re planning to reduce the number of brands we operate and focus on two or three trusted suppliers – Mercedes-Benz and its Dealer have certainly made the right impression.”
Huntapac has been producing root vegetable, brassicas and salads ‘from seed to shelf’ for 75 years. Established in 1942 by Mr Hunter’s great-grandfather William, the business is still family-owned and now employs more than 500 people. It farms 3,000 acres of root vegetables and 600 acres of brassicas and salads yearly.
The company’s trucks haul bulk and refrigerated box trailers, transporting produce from fields to its own facilities to be washed, prepared and packaged, and then on to leading supermarket chains, independent retailers and other outlets.
Source: Uk Haulier