Mercedes-Benz launches Direct Vision Econic tractor concept

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A heightened focus on the protection of vulnerable road users in Britain’s towns and cities has spurred Mercedes-Benz to unveil a prototype urban tractor unit based on its low-entry Econic chassis.

The concept features a deep, panoramic windscreen and full-height glazed passenger door, and a low seating position which allows the driver to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at junctions and in traffic.

The 4x2 Econic 1835L tractor will operate at a maximum gross combination weight of 36 tonnes. It’s 7.7-litre straight-six engine transmits its 354PS via a six-speed Allison automatic gearbox – the manufacturer plans to offer its PowerShift transmission in Econic models powered by the same engine before the end of 2017.

The vehicle made its public debut at this weekend’s (30 April-1 May) Truckfest in Peterborough.

Philip Chance, senior municipal sales & special applications manager at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said: “Our experience over the last couple of years in London and elsewhere has proved that the safety benefits the Econic offers in comparison to a conventional rigid truck chassis give it significant market appeal.

“It was a logical next step, therefore, to explore the potential for an Econic-based urban tractor. We have adapted the base unit built by the factory in Germany so that it is better-suited to a UK audience and are now keen to talk to operators, and to get their feedback on our new prototype.”

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