National Veterinary Services has upgraded its fleet with 11 new Mercedes-Benz Actros StreamSpace units.
The new trucks were chosen to ensure the fleet has compliance when operating in London.
Working from National Veterinary Services’ headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent, the 11 new trucks pull temperature-controlled semi-trailers and service a network of 11 hubs which, in turn, deliver to some 2,700 veterinary practices nationwide.
Supplied by eStar Truck & Van, the new Actros are all 2545 models. Their StreamSpace cabs are 2.3m wide – the narrower of the two widths available – and have 170mm engine tunnels.
This combination, together with the Mercedes-Benz MirrorCam technology that has replaced conventional mirrors, and the additional windows fitted in the lower half of the nearside doors by Astra Vehicle Technologies, of Ellesmere Port, means the trucks attract three Direct Vision stars from Transport for London (TfL).
They are therefore permitted to continue operating in the capital from 2024 onwards.
The Actros models are powered by 12.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 450hp and are now being maintained under Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreements by the workshop team at eStar Truck & Van’s Stoke branch.
National Veterinary Services opted for the upgraded, interactive version of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ twin-screen Multimedia Cockpit, which features a 12-inch instrument panel and comes with extra functionality, including satellite navigation. The cabs are equipped with fridges, while reflecting the fact that they are often double-manned for runs to Scotland and the South-West the co-driver also gets a suspension seat.
Transport operations manager Phil Bate said: “It’s all about recognising and responding to the direction of travel in the industry. Unsurprisingly, our drivers loved the spacious, flat-floored units they were in previously. But they also understand the rationale behind our decision to move to smaller cabs that offer better direct visibility.
“We’ve embraced Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ MirrorCam and other technology because of the tangible benefits it offers in terms of compliance, not only for London but for other towns and cities too. By moving to three star-rated vehicles we’ve effectively future-proofed our fleet.
“We’ve also done everything we can to ensure the safety of our driving colleagues and of the public in general, particularly vulnerable road users, while at the same time specifying a few additional features to make what can be a very tough job that bit more comfortable.”