Among all the manufacturers playing around with alternative fuel for trucks, Daimler has been among the most active. Not only is it playing around with pure electric offerings, the German giant has just released a new compressed natural gas (CNG) trash truck for Stuttgart.
The new truck for AWS Stuttgart is the first to be powered by the new Mercedes 936 family of engines. Even though the 222 kW (302 hp) inline-six should drive just like a regular diesel, Daimler says it will be much cleaner and greener around town. Not only are CO2 emissions cut by about 23 percent, the gas-powered truck creates almost no particulates or fine dust, helping it meet strict Euro VI emissions standards without any filters or exhaust treatments. Another byproduct of the switch from diesel to gas is a 2 dB cut in noise emissions.
Beyond the lower emissions, drivers are unlikely to notice anything a difference between diesel and natural-gas trucks. The 600-l (159-g) tank means range shouldn't be a problem on the daily rubbish collection routes, and the truck's 26 tonne (29 ton) payload is unchanged. Daimler also says the fully air-suspended rubbish trucks should be comfortable and easy to manoeuvre, thanks to their 3.9-meter (12.8-foot) wheelbase.
Just like its cars, the new range of Mercedes-Benz trucks comes standard with stability control, lane keeping assist, auto-emergency braking and rain/dusk sensing wipers and headlamps. Adaptive cruise control is also fitted, making those long-haul highway runs easier on the driver.
"Despite the higher cost of purchasing a natural gas-powered waste collection vehicle, the saving on fuel bills that can be achieved with a complete switch from diesel to natural gas is going to offset our additional costs after around three and a half years," say Dr Thomas Heß, CEO of the waste-removal company in Stuttgart.
Daimler isn't the only company to throw its support behind CNG powered trucks. Skoda is using a fleet of gas trucks at its manufacturing plant, and UK supermarket chain Waitrose has teamed up with Scania to deliver stock using CNG trucks as well. You can even buy a Ford F-150 with a gas powertrain, proving the fuel has legs as an alternative to diesel.