The Mercedes-Benz Econic with Natural Gas Technology (NGT) is now gaining a foothold in Asia. Now that cities such as Stockholm, Paris, Prague, Athens, Berlin or Valencia have decided in favour of this environmentally friendly waste disposal vehicle, Sembcorp Industries, Singapore’s largest waste management company, is starting a one-year field trial to assess market acceptance, cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

Wolfgang Huppenbauer, President and CEO of Daimler South East Asia, during the handover of the Econic: “We are proud of this further opportunity to contribute to Singapore’s green urban development.” As recently as May, Daimler delivered Mercedes-Benz buses with environmentally friendly BlueTec technology to the public urban transport services of this South-East Asian metropolis. The city of Singapore is increasingly setting the ecological example for Asia, and the Mercedes-Benz Econic is to make its contribution to this.

Sembcorp Industries is one of the largest environmental companies on the Asian continent, and not only takes care of waste disposal in numerous cities and densely populated areas, but is also involved in energy and water supply in Singapore, China, Vietnam, Great Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Sembcorp is also a market leader in marine and offshore technology, according to Chief Operating Officer Goh Swee Ooi during the handover of the Econic. The vehicle is a Mercedes-Benz Econic NGT 2628 x 2/4 NLA, with three axles and a gross vehicle weight of 26 tonnes, a trailing axle and a six-speed automatic transmission which eases the workload of the driving personnel, as does the unique cab with its panoramic glazing and wide, automatically opening doors.

Natural gas engines to the EEV standard
The Econic is powered either by in-line six-cylinder diesel engines from the 900 series or by natural gas engines, both with EEV certification. EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) is the currently most stringent emission standard. The M 906 LAG natural gas engine has a displacement of 6.9 litres and develops 205 kW (279 hp). The diesel engines are based on innovative BlueTec diesel technology. SCR technology and optimised combustion reduce both exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. In addition to the OM 906 LA with an output of either 175 kW (238 hp) or 210 kW (286 hp), the Econic is available with the OM 926 LA developing 240 kW (326 hp). The diesel engines in the 900 series are also suitable for biodiesel without any prior conversion.

The Econic has been available with natural gas drive since 2002. Fueled with biogas from renewable resources, the Econic is even carbon-neutral. This is the case in Stockholm, where experience with this technology has been gained over more than six years, and the biogas is produced from waste water and to an extent also from household waste.

In Singapore the methane is supplied by GPlus, the natural gas sales division of Sembcorp. The reduced exhaust and noise emission levels have clear benefits for the local inhabitants. In Athens, for example, the Econic helps to reduce the extreme smog from which the city often suffers during the summer.

Econic – a success story
With sales of almost 12,000 units in twelve years, and well over 1000 of these with natural gas drive, the Econic now has an outstanding market position and has long set the standard for vehicles with a low-floor cab. Owing to increasing volume and a large customer demand for the gas-powered Econic, the entire production was relocated to the special vehicles product unit in Wörth am Rhein in 2009. Until then, the vehicle had been produced at the Centre of Competence for emission-free mobility (KEM) in Mannheim.
The Econic was originally designed as a waste disposal vehicle, and first presented as such at the Entsorga fair in Cologne in May 1998. At that time there was no variant with natural gas drive. The Econic has meanwhile become a specialist for a variety of applications, even as a semitrailer tractor for refrigerated transport. It shows its strengths wherever goods need to be collected and distributed in usually environmentally sensitive areas: above all with its quiet, low-emission engines and its ergonomic, unique low-floor frame concept.

Source: Daimler AG