Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner
DTNA's Saward discusses the new EconicSD at Waste Expo in Las Vegas.

Safety technology a key piece of Freightliner's new EconicSD waste collection truck

April 25, 2018
LAS VEGAS. Freightliner Trucks unveiled its new EconicSD waste collection truck for the North American market, a low-entry cab-over-engine model that comes stan

LAS VEGAS. Freightliner Trucks unveiled its new EconicSD waste collection truck for the North American market, a low-entry, cab-over-engine model that comes standard with numerous safety systems.

The truck, adapted from the Mercedes-Benz Econic, made its debut at the Waste Expo on April 24.

Richard Saward, general manager of vocational sales at Daimler Trucks North America, said the EconicSD "completes the vocational product lineup” by providing an option for those seeking front-end loaders.

Freightliner officials said the panoramic windshield and low seating position provide better visibility. There is also a mirror system that offers an expanded field of vision.

The EconicSD comes standard with active brake assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning to mitigate potential collisions. Optional safety features include side guard assist and a built-in camera system with 360-degree views displayed on a flat screen dash monitor.

These safety systems are particularly critical in the refuse sector, Saward said.

“The job site is very likely the same environment as our front doorsteps,” he said. One mistake in an urban environment can be “life altering.”

The first step of the EconicSD is 19 inches, half the first-step height of many conventional waste collection trucks, Freightliner said. The low entry means only one step is needed to enter the cab, with just one more step to the driver’s platform.

Freightliner partnered with Heil Environmental and McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing during the development of the vehicle.

“The cab-over-engine design for the North American waste collection market is a unique concept, so collaborating with Heil and McNeilus was critical to ensure a streamlined upfit process and efficiencies from the very beginning,” said Richard Howard, DTNA's senior vice president of sales and marketing.

During the initial launch, the Econic will only be offered with the Detroit DD8 diesel engine with the Detroit Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service. Saward said while the company is determined to establish the vehicle in the marketplace with the DD8, looking ahead he suggested no powertrain option would be “off the table.”

The cab and chassis are designed and manufactured in Germany. Final assembly of the cab and chassis will be completed at the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. manufacturing facility in Gaffney, SC.

Ordering for the EconicSD will begin this summer, with production slated for October and the first deliveries expected next April. Cab configurations in 6x4, high cab and low cab, and rear and side loader configurations will also be available.  

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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