From Stuttgart to Hamburg and back – Mercedes-Benz has been measuring fuel consumption along this route for the past 20 years. On the Drackensteiner Hang, the tractor/semitrailer combination needs power. With its nearly 40 tonnes gross weight, the Actros is fully laden. It’s logical that a truck will need more fuel on this climb than on a flat stretch of road. After all, the truck will be climbing to an elevation of 800 meters during this stage. In this first step of the journey, from Stuttgart to the rest area at Ellwanger Berge, the truck is already consuming fuel at a rate of 34 litres per 100 kilometres.
“Such stretches of road are to be expected. We want to have real-life conditions, and that’s why the route has to include everything,” says Dirk Haas, as he looks at the laptop on the dashboard displaying the consumption data.
Preparation is crucial.
The test driver is a member of a Mercedes-Benz Trucks team that regularly conducts measurement drives for determining fuel consumption levels. Hours later and a few hundred kilometres farther north, on the flat stretch between the Allertal and Hamburg service areas, the Actros is operating with an average consumption below 26 litres.
760 kilometres there and 760 kilometres back, including the segment on the A8 across the Swabian Jura. In terms of topography and traffic, this route gives a fairly precise representation of average European long-distance haulage conditions. Haas: “We test the trucks as close to customer conditions as possible. And our customers are not just driving with 20 tonnes and a tail wind through flat regions.” The testers ensure that the same requirements will be fulfilled by the test and reference vehicles regardless of eventuality. “For example, should one of our trucks suffer tyre damage during the trip, we have to start all over again.”Watch the video at RoadStars.