During the 16th UN Climate Conference, held in Cancun, Mexico last week, Mercedes-Benz showcased its Econic NGT 2628 6x2/4 NLA, a three-axle vehicle configured as a refuse truck. It features a trailing axle, six-speed automatic transmission, panoramic windshield, wide automatically opening doors and, most importantly for Mexico, the option of selecting a natural gas- or diesel powered-engine.
According to Mercedes-Benz, Mexico City intends to transfer all public transportation within the metropolis to alternative drive systems, such as gas, biogas or electrically powered systems within the next few years. The city’s plans include delivery and other service vehicles. When it comes to waste-disposal services for moving refuse out of the city, the Mercedes-Benz Econic is set to play an important role, noted the truck OEM.
Mexico City, like other customers around the world, has a choice of power plant for the Econic, either a 900 series straight six-cylinder diesel engine or a natural-gas engine – both options are EEV‑certified. EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) is the strictest of the currently established exhaust emissions standards. The M 906 LAG natural gas engine generates 279 hp.
Diesel engine options are based on SCR diesel technology to not only reduces exhaust emissions, but fuel consumption too. Different versions of the diesel are available, including the OM 906 LA in 238 hp and 286 hp options and the OM 926 LA with 326 hp. Diesel engines in the 900 series can be run on biodiesel fuel with no need for conversion. The resulting reductions in exhaust and noise emissions are a benefit to urban residents.
The company has sold 12,000 units in twelve years, almost all of which were equipped with a natural-gas engine. As a result of the increasing number of units being sold and strong customer demand for Econic gas-powered vehicles, in 2009 manufacturing was fully relocated to the Special Trucks Division at Wörth am Rhein in Germany. Previously, the vehicle had been produced at the Center of Competence for Emission-free Mobility (KEM) in Mannheim, Germany.
The Econic vehicles are already in use in Paris, Prague, Berlin, Valencia and, most recently, Singapore.