At home in the world’s major cities

The Econic NGT as a distribution vehicle enjoys great popularity in the Netherlands

Simon Loos Logistic plans to implement 30 Econic natural gas powered vehicles for distributing goods in city operation. Within city boundaries, goods are handled by low-entry vehicles. The numerous advantages of the Econic include economical operation in cities. There are many good reasons for choosing the Econic.

It’s 5.00 am on Monday morning. Dawn is breaking. The company headquarters of Simon Loos B.V. in Wognum (Netherlands) is bustling with activity. The shops in nearby Amsterdam are low on stock and waiting for new deliveries. Semitrailer tractors are manoeuvring on the company site. A giant LZV (long vehicle combination) truck crosses the depot while an Econic with dual-axle trailer moves towards the exit. Boasting easy entry and outstanding design clarity, the qualities of this low-entry vehicle deployed in the public service sector have not gone unnoticed in city distribution.

In high demand: Economical environmental compatibility

"Our customers have three key demands when it comes to our vehicle fleet," explains Simon Loos, Managing Director of the company that is now in its third generation. "It must be environmentally friendly, environmentally friendly and also environmentally friendly!" But for Loos, who coordinates more than 425 towing vehicles and 645 towed vehicles, this demand for environmental compatibility has to remain affordable: "Since 2005, we have converted our semitrailers, of which over 75% are Mercedes-Benz vehicles, to include Euro 5 compliance," he continues. "Before investing in our latest vehicles, we spoke to our customers – as we always do – to discover their business goals. It quickly became apparent that maximum environmental compatibility was the key factor. Euro 6 is not yet available so our current focus is on EEV."

Econic with liquefied natural gas operation

Fuel is supplied by a local natural-gas filling station. But Loos is already planning the next stage. Based on achieving a longer range and optimised payload capacities, Loos consulted Mercedes-Benz Netherlands and the specialist engineers at the Wörth plant before having his vehicles converted to run on LNG (liquefied natural gas). "Now the Econic with LNG is available with stainless steel tanks, which are lighter and have a larger capacity," adds Loos. And he has another innovative proposal: "We’ve had discussions with our customers about the possibility of implementing a special-purpose system to extract biogas from foodstuffs that have exceeded their shelf life." Running a biogas-driven Econic would represent a key step towards CO2-neutral operation.

"But we shouldn’t forget that there are many cities in the Netherlands that have already imposed access restrictions on vehicles with Euro low emission ratings," continues Loos. "And we expect these restrictions to get even tighter. This is where the Econic with gas-powered engine comes into its own." This has added significance in light of predictions by logistics experts that the distribution of foodstuffs is experiencing dramatic change. "We are moving towards 24 hour/365 delivery," concludes Jan Bergblom. "And that can only be achieved using specialist vehicles."

High demand for the Econic

After the successful implementation of his first gas-powered Econic, Simon Loos has already placed an order for 28 further vehicles. His plan is to deploy 23 towing vehicles to transport trailers to retail traders. A number of vehicles will be used for direct deliveries, others will distribute LZV (long vehicle combination) trailers. Loos will also be operating seven dual-axle vehicles featuring a motor-driven cooling system for deployment in confined, noise-sensitive areas. Drivers are already speculating who will be allowed to switch from a conventional truck to an Econic. A sizeable number of customers will insist on deliveries from this clean, low-entry specialist in the future. The sun is now at its highest point and the initial demand from Amsterdam’s shops appears to have been met. But customers are never satisfied – and the stocks on the shelves are drying up again. Food logistics is a business that operates around the clock. The drivers on the early shift are knocking off. But there’s no rest for the Econic. A quick handover of documents, brief instructions on the next delivery, a turn of the key and the gas engine is back in business. Amsterdam never sleeps.

Technical data:

Chassis Model 1828 LS NGT 4x2
Engine Output 205 kW (279 hp)
Emissions standard EEV
Capacity 6.9 litres
Max. torque (Nm/rpm)
Power Transmission & Weight Allison 6-speed
automatic transmission
Perm. GVW 18,000 kg