Showing what it can do.
Work behind the high-rack warehouse, where stillages and Europallets pile up high, needs to be precise and fast. The driver of a van there indicates that he wants to pass by. Loris Eck reverses his truck with ease into the lane between the stacks of stillages and pallets. “That was pretty tight going,” he does admit. “But you’ve got great all-round visibility in the cab. On top of that, the Antos is extremely manoeuvrable.” Mercedes-Benz has specifically developed the new truck to meet the tough and growing requirements of heavy-duty distribution from 18 tonnes upwards. Loris Eck works as a driving demonstrator at the Application Information Centre at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth. The task today for the 34-year-old is to show the team of “Transport” reporters what an Antos 1832 with a ClassicSpace S-cab can do at various locations and in varying situations on the plant site.
The situation behind the high-rack warehouse is one which drivers experience every day on heavy-duty distribution work. Pushed for time and very often in heavy traffic, they have to manoeuvre their trucks safely at narrow drop-off points. “That’s when a vehicle like the Antos is worth its weight in gold,” says Eck.
Low fuel consumption, low overall cost.
Operators benefit from the efficiency and economy of the Antos. Low emission Euro VI engines are fitted as standard. This means that the truck already complies today with the 2014 emission standard. Matching the BlueEfficiency Power programme, the Antos has impressively low fuel consumption. This makes it the ideal choice for heavy-duty distribution, where fuel costs account for a rising percentage share of overall costs. Repair and maintenance costs are also low and route planning and logistics can be optimised thanks to FleetBoard®. The six available cab variants, however, are not just good lookers. They are aerodynamically optimised and thus improve economy. With a width of 2,300 mm, they are comparatively slim. This ensures very good all-round visibility, which pays off when manoeuvring at a high-rack warehouse.
“It's great to drive”.
The driving demonstrator’s positive first impression was confirmed when he entered the cab via the three steps arranged in staircase style. “Drivers out on heavy-duty distribution work will notice straight away how this makes getting in and out of the truck easier.” On the plant site the distances are short and the speed is rather slow. ”But you still notice that the Antos handles really well,” says Eck. One of the reasons is the dynamic 6-cylinder in-line engine with its spontaneous response. The engine is available in three displacements (7.7, 10.7 and 12.8 litres) and in 13 power ratings (175 kW to 375 kW). The new, wide and rigidly designed frame is also uncompromisingly configured for applications in heavy-duty short-radius distribution. The frame track, which has been widened by 90 mm, enables particularly good roadholding and outstanding vehicle handling.
“I also really like the fact that the automatic transmission Mercedes PowerShift 3, which makes gear selection even more precise, is fitted as standard on the Antos,” says Eck. This helps to improve fuel efficiency.
High level of safety.
Specifically developing a truck for heavy-duty short-radius distribution also means making available a complete portfolio of safety and assistance systems. So the Antos has the electronic brake system with ABS, ASR, Brake Assist, the hillholder and a highly efficient engine brake on board. The Stability Control Assist system and the hazard lights during emergency braking that warn the vehicle behind are also fitted as standard. “Active Brake Assist 3 is a real improvement,” emphasises Loris Eck. In addition to moving obstacles, the system can now respond to stationary obstacles and, through autonomous emergency braking, avoid accidents or mitigate their effects. Active Brake Assist 3 is likely to be available from December 2012 and in combination with the Proximity Control Assist system with stop-and-go function.
The driver arrives at the next drop-off point on the Wörth plant site. The loading ramp this time is inside the warehouse. The right-hand side of the truck has to be manoeuvred alongside the ramp. On the left side, the outer wall of the warehouse is the border of the driving lane, which is hardly wider than the truck itself. This is another of those situations in which the Antos gets the chance to demonstrate its handling qualities. “Nonetheless, these are the moments in hectic day-to-day work when you can’t rule out altogether that your truck is going to get stuck somewhere or other,” Eck admits. That’s when features like the three-part bumper with steel corners can prove useful. Any dents on the corners in the event of slight damage can either be inexpensively repaired or the damaged part can be simply replaced.
Safeguarding your investment and future proofing.
The development of the Antos was resolutely focused on durability and “future proofing”. This applies to many components and assemblies, whose lifetimes have been extended. The maintenance intervals of the Antos are up to 150,000 km. The aspect of making the trucks ready for the future particularly applies to emissions. Thanks to the standard-fitted Euro VI engines, transport operators working frequently in big cities need not fear the threat of even tighter access restrictions for trucks with emission categories that are too low. They can also qualify for toll benefits through advance compliance with the emissions standard. Euro VI vehicles will also probably be exempted from the costs of the Eurovignette until 2016.
“One thing is certain: Hauliers who really take the issue of CO₂ reduction seriously and show this by buying the Antos will increasingly be in a better position in future when it comes to customers and prospective customers,” Loris Eck points out on the basis of his discussion with company operators. In other words, the Antos can increase competitiveness.