Technology passes test
Fifty years of truck development pays off, writes James Stanford
A MERCEDES-Benz experiment has measured just how far trucks have come in the past 50 years.
Engineers took a 1960s Mercedes truck and a 2010 hauler, loaded them up and sent them on a 1160km run from Germany to Italy and back. They measured fuel use and travel times, as well as the drivers’ brainwaves.
Back in 1960, Ford was set to launch the Falcon, telegrams were sent by Morse code and communism was feared.
The Mercedes LP 1620 runs a 10.8-litre in-line six-cylinder diesel with 150kW and 700Nm. The engine was considered well suited for a load of 32 tonnes.
Now, most European trucks have around twice the power and three times the torque to carry a load of 40 tonnes.
Mercedes loaded up a new 320kW/ 2100Nm Actros 1844 with 25 tonnes and put 16 tonnes on the back of the old LP 1620. The test route was tough, with several uphill runs.
The new Actros 1844 managed the trip in only 12 hours and 36 minutes. Despite its lighter load, the LP 1620 took 20 hours and eight minutes, almost an extra working day. The new truck used 20 per cent less fuel than the old one.
The Actros, which was carrying a heavier load than the LP 1620, used only 1.27 litres of diesel per 100km for each tonne, compared with the LP 1620’s 2.34 litres.
No contest: the Mercedes-Benz Actros 1844 thrashed a 1960s LP 1620.