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Mercedes-Benz adds 12-speed PowerShift 3 gearbox to Econic truck

Mercedes-Benz Trucks now offers a 12-speed Powershift 3 transmission for the Econic range, in response to customer demand. Previously, the low-entry Econic came with a fully automatic, six-speed Allison transmission. Travis Perkins has become the first UK customer to take delivery of Mercedes-Benz Econic trucks equipped with the new gearbox.

The 12-speed PowerShift 3 system has been introduced on certain 4×2 and 6×2 variants. An 8×4 rear-steer version is also in development. “For those undertaking domestic waste and recycling collections, the Allison gearbox will continue to offer the best compromise in terms of usability, comfort, durability and economy.

However, for some trade-municipal and haulage applications, the well-proven Mercedes PowerShift 3 system offers optimum fuel efficiency and is likely to be more appropriate,” said Rupert Barnard, Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK product manager. Travis Perkins has ordered ten 18-tonners with PowerShift 3 transmissions. They are being supplied by Midlands-based Intercounty Truck & Van, cementing the long-standing relationship between the two businesses.

All are Econic 1830 models with 299PS straight-six engines, dropside bodies by Sheffield-based Massey Engineering, and HMF 1210-L long boom cranes. The Builders Merchants purchased five 26-tonne Econics from the same Dealer in 2017. However, it acquired its first three 6×2 versions with cranes early in 2016.

Like its previous Econics, the latest trucks are fitted with five-camera cctv recording systems and Sidescan proximity scanners, which sound audible alarms to alert the driver to the presence of a cyclist alongside, while also warning the rider when the vehicle is turning left. James Taylor, Travis Perkins’ central fleet manager, said: “We have been leading calls for the Econic to be offered with the Mercedes PowerShift transmission, and it is gratifying that the manufacturer has listened to what we’ve been saying and acted on it. The Mercedes-Benz system offers improved fuel economy and significant cost savings, compared to the Allison version.

It is our intention, therefore, to standardise on Mercedes PowerShift when placing future Econic orders.”

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