A&B Potatoes harvests valuable fuel savings thanks to Mercedes-Benz

A&B Potatoes harvests valuable fuel savings thanks to Mercedes-Benz

A&B Potatoes’ latest Mercedes-Benz Actros is more than just ‘a chip off the old block’ when it comes to fuel-efficiency. In fact, the Cornish operator’s new truck is up to 1.5 mpg ahead of its previous tractor unit from the same model range.

Supplied by Dealer City West Commercials, A&B’s second Actros has a flat-floored BigSpace cab and, as a 2553 model, is powered by a 12.8-litre straight-six producing 390 kW (530 hp) – this top-rated version of the OM 471 powerplant was launched to coincide with the introduction of second-generation engine technology.

Family-owned A&B Potatoes has roots that go back 60 years and is the South-West’s largest supplier of high-quality chipping potatoes. The Saltash-based company makes daily deliveries to fish and chip shops, takeaways, restaurants, and caterers throughout Cornwall and Devon.

Its new truck is a real head-turner in striking green and white paintwork, with optional, high-performance bi-xenon headlights, customised side skirts and chassis infill, alloy wheels, Kelsa LED light bars and airhorns.

The Actros is fitted with an uprated 8.0-tonne front axle and axle weight measuring device, and came equipped with a fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control system, as well as a Mercedes-Benz Safety Pack, which incorporates the ground-breaking Active Brake Assist 4 and Proximity Control Assist aids.

Inside, meanwhile, driver Andy Simmons is a big fan of his new vehicle’s enhanced Style Line design, while numerous items from the manufacturer’s options list, including an upgraded entertainment and satellite navigation system, a factory-fitted fridge, an additional table on the co-driver’s side and an extra luggage rack on the cab wall, help to make life on the road even more comfortable and enjoyable.

The tractor earns its keep by making three collections per week from a supplier in Cambridge – it pulls a curtainside trailer and returns with nearly 1,100 bags of potatoes, each weighing 25 kg. A&B also undertakes haulage on behalf of third-party customers on the outward journeys.

The latest addition to the operator’s all-Mercedes-Benz fleet has lined up alongside its only other tractor unit, an Actros 2551 purchased in 2015, and four rigid curtainsiders: an 18-tonne Axor, two 15-tonne Atego and a 5.0-tonne Sprinter.

The 15-registered Actros has a first-generation 375 kW (510 hp) engine and averages 9 mpg, an economy figure which Managing Director Ben Ruby considered perfectly acceptable. However, its new stablemate has been a revelation, and is regularly posting returns of up to 10.5 mpg.

Mr Ruby said:

“There’s only 20 hp difference between them but the new Actros is far superior in terms of fuel-efficiency.”  “It also seems to have a lot more grunt, which is a major benefit in this part of the world, where we have quite a few steep hills.”

Mercedes-Benz claims a cumulative 6% fuel saving for the developments in engine technology and component optimisation it has made to the OM 471 since 2016. Like A&B Potatoes, though, many operators have reported more substantial improvements.

The company recently acquired a former competitor based in Newton Abbot, Devon.

 Mr Ruby said:

“Our focus of late has been on integrating that business, but now the dust has settled we plan early next year to trade in the older Actros against another 2553 BigSpace”

A&B Potatoes’ vehicles are inspected and serviced by the workshop teams at City West Commercials’ Exeter and Highbridge branches. The new Actros is additionally specified with Mercedes-Benz Uptime, which can predict a breakdown before it occurs and deliver planning efficiencies that restrict the need for time-consuming trips to the workshop.

Mr Ruby continued:

“We choose Mercedes-Benz trucks for their outstanding reliability and sensible parts costs and the Dealer looks after me pretty well, too; they’re a good bunch of people.”

“You don’t want a truck laid up waiting for parts that could’ve been ordered a week before your visit,”  “With Uptime, the Service team know in advance what’s going to be required, and can ensure everything’s in place when you get there.”

So positive has the feedback been from customers like Ben Ruby, that City West Commercials is about to add a 390 kW (530 hp) Actros to its own demonstration fleet. South-West operators wishing to road test the new vehicle should contact Simon Johnson-Taylor on 07970 642013.

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