Critical to the vehicle’s development was urban safety, with clean air and other road users the top priorities. With this in mind, the new vehicle trials a number of groundbreaking features.
Particularly relevant for urban vehicles, this Mercedes Econic runs on Shell GTL Fuel, in line with all vehicles operating from Brakes’ Premier Park depot in West London. The major reason for Brakes introducing Shell GTL Fuel is that it is a direct replacement for diesel, but creates far fewer harmful emissions, including a reduction of NOx emissions by almost half, which significantly reduces the vehicle’s impact on the environment.
In addition to the environmental benefits of the fuel it uses, Brakes has also introduced new refrigeration units. The under-mounted Carrier TRS system helps reduce environmental impact while also providing superior refrigeration performance. Drivers have also reported that it is significantly quieter than the traditional diesel powered units, which has been a huge incremental benefit.
In line with the importance Brakes places on the safety of all vehicles, the Mercedes Econic also carries a number of safety features. These include a panoramic windscreen and full height glass nearside door; lower seating positions; side scan warning system; audible alarm; a reverse alarm; a 360 degree camera system; reflective side guard infills and additional mirrors. As part of its trial, Brakes will review the benefit of the additional safety features to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
The safety of the operator also features heavily in the vehicle’s design with the standard Brakes requirements of colour coding to areas where caution should be taken, the addition of full rear illumination and internal tail-lift operational warning lights which are particularly important during the winter months when many routes operate in darkness.
All of the new features have potential to add to Brakes exacting standards, with the Solomon body still designed to meet Brakes’ specification, featuring dual temperature load area with side access, fully movable/stowable Solomon bulkhead with access door, load restraint, triple rear doors, retractable tail-lift and full telematics/camera systems provided by Seven Telematics.
Paul Vernon, Brakes Fleet Engineering Manager said: “For Brakes safety is paramount. As a regular road user, we understand our responsibilities and we are really pleased to be working with an English body-builder that shares our vision. The innovations that we’ve worked on with Solomon have raised our standards to an even higher level.