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

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, Devon and Dorset.

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, all help to make life on the road 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.

“There’s only 20 hp difference between them but the new Actros is far superior in terms of fuel-efficiency,” said Mr Ruby. “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.”

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