Technology passes test

Fifty years of truck devel­op­ment pays off, writes James Stan­ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

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.

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