The Log

03.07 00:21


After traveling for more than 10,000 km, the Record Run 2011 of three Mercedes-Benz trucks reached its destination at midnight. At a Shell filling station in Portland/Rotterdam, the vehicles are refueled with diesel and AdBlue under the supervision of Dekra engineer Jens Lohmann.

In order to make a precise overall assessment, the Dekra inspector also checks the fuel’s temperature and the tire pressure.

The data from the entire tour is evaluated on Sunday, July 3, 2011. The results will be announced at a press conference in Rotterdam, which will begin at 2 p.m. on July 4, 2011.

02.07 16:57


It is 4:57 p.m. in Peine, and the Actros Record Run 2011 will soon go into its final round. The mechanics of the Mercedes-Benz test drive maintenance crew are going through the check list for the last time. In addition to cleaning the windshields and the windows, the mechanics clean the lights and check the amount of fluid in the windshield washer system and refill it where necessary. In addition, they measure and record the temperature of all of the wheel hubs and visually check all of the wheels and tires. “The list is actually quite a bit longer than that, but we can easily perform all of the tasks in the prescribed time,” says Torsten Ebner, a master mechanic from the Mercedes-Benz test drive workshop.

Ebner knows what he’s talking about. After all, he came up with the test drive’s entire service logistics system. He also organized the crew of specialists who inspect the three Actros test vehicles quickly but thoroughly. One thing that external observers have noticed particularly here in Peine over the last six days is that Ebner’s team inspects three complete semitrailer trucks with an almost uncanny precision and calm.

The Dekra inspector Jens Lohmann and Anton Haitz from the Mercedes-Benz truck press test team have always had the fueling process under control. While Haitz has been operating the pump and using a thermometer, Lohmann has been taking care of the fuel filler cap and other seals. In addition, he has also been performing two other key tasks: documenting the amounts of the various liquids and recording the temperatures of the operating materials.

In contrast to the five previous refueling stops, the sixth one just completed was only to ensure that the trucks have enough fuel to reach the tour’s destination in Rotterdam. In contrast to previous days, we no longer make informal, interim analyses of fuel consumption for the Record Run 2011 website.

That’s because the final assessment will be made during the big concluding refueling process in Portland/Rotterdam. For Dekra inspector Lohmann, the amount of fuel filled into the trucks in Rotterdam, as well as the smaller amounts supplied up to then in Peine, will be decisive for his assessment. All of the data are now once again carefully checked and the results clearly arranged for presentation at a press conference that is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

01.07 08:41

The fifth night of the Actros Record Run 2011 was a bit of a mixed bag, but was generally quiet and featured no big surprises. As far as the weather was concerned, the amount of precipitation remained within bounds. The headwind that sometimes still blew strongly in the late afternoon and early evening quieted down as night fell. At the moment, the eastward blowing breeze with a strength of two to three on the Beaufort scale is serving the Actros convoy as a helpful tailwind.

After a slight delay, but within the grace period, the day shift took over the wheel at around 5 a.m., steering the trucks onto Autobahn 2 in the direction of Berlin. “Everything’s A okay,” says Hans Luft in a radio transmission from the new Actros 1845 BlueTec 6. Luft doesn’t doubt a for moment that the new technology which is installed in all three of the Actros trucks will be able to properly handle the Polish toll, which is calculated on the basis of the distance traveled. “We'll see.” Until then: Bon voyage!

30.06 21:04


A thunderstorm was approaching when we began the fourth leg yesterday afternoon. “It was a night I’d rather forget,” says Dr. Hannes Möller, Head of Vehicle Testing at Mercedes-Benz Trucks. “Sometimes, our drivers and the other motorists were only able to deal with the huge amounts of water on the road by slowing down drastically.” As a result, driving behavior was unusually variable along the affected stretches of road. As anyone with practical experience in this area can tell you, fluctuating speeds waste fuel and time, and make it difficult to take comparative measurements.

And if that weren’t enough, a strong wind began to blow today, causing fuel consumption to rise even higher. Möller sums up the day as follows: "Due to the unfavorable weather conditions, average fuel consumption rose today by around 2 l/100 km. At the same time, it seems that the team in the new Actros Euro V was able to better cope with the difficult conditions. The overall trend remains unchanged, however.”

During the approximately 6,150 km it has traveled so far, the current Actros 1844 LS-Nardo has consumed 26.9 l/100 km. The associated average speed has dropped slightly to 77.9 km/h. The new Actros 1845 LS Euro VI passed through the spell of bad weather with a continued significant lead in fuel consumption over the 1844 LS-Nardo. The cumulative database shows that the vehicle now has an average fuel consumption of 25.7 l/100 km. The truck attained an average speed of 77.7 km/h during the distance traveled so far. The new Actros 1845 LS Euro V continues to have the best fuel consumption value (24.9 l/100 km), traveling at an average speed of 77.6 km/h.

As a result, the basic fuel consumption ratios have remained unchanged between the current Actros and its successor models featuring BlueTec-6 and BlueTec-5 exhaust gas treatment technology. In addition, the Euro VI vehicles has consumed 4.7 percent less fuel than the current Actros 1844 BlueTec 5. Moreover, the new 1845 featuring BlueTec 5 is currently consuming 7.7 percent less than its predecessor equipped with directly comparable exhaust gas technology.

30.06 15:14


Less than two hours left to go before drivers are changed once again. It will be the eighth of a total of 12 such changeovers during the six-day Actros Record Run 2011. Since the trip began in Rotterdam at 7:02 p.m. last Sunday, a two-man team has always handed a vehicle over to another two-man team at the service station in Peine at around 4 a.m. and again at 4 p.m.

The strict changeover plan complies with German labor law, of course, as well as with the EU’s regulations governing drivers’ hours in commercial road haulage. As long as nothing out of the ordinary happens, the drivers spend far less time behind the wheel than the maximum time permitted by the regulations. However, it would take more than just a big traffic jam to ruin the day’s schedule and force the organizers to adjust the planned leeway in drivers’ hours. The main reason for the frequent switching of drivers is therefore the need to assign working times in line with legal stipulations. A total of 15 drivers take part in the run. Three two-man teams work the day shift, while six drivers handle the night shift. In addition, three drivers are on call in case of an emergency. The many Actros drivers taking part in the Record Run 2011 also reflect a range of different driving traits that will ultimately balance each other out in the final result. However, all of the drivers are highly disciplined and work exactly as stipulated.

 

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