Econ trials 4×4 MAN TGM for an ultra-urban challenge across the London borough of Barnet

Meeting London’s Low Emissions is just one of the reasons Econ is looking at the MAN TGM 4×4 for its Gritter Hire Fleet. 

The London borough of Barnet, which sits aside a group of hills on the northern edge of the London Basin, is one of the highest London boroughs.

Barnet, the largest London borough by population, also has a large number of restrictive low bridges – so a tricky combination of factors that make gritting solutions and winter maintenance problematic.

In response to these challenges, Econ is trialling a new MAN 18.250 4X4 BB C cab as part of their Gritting Hire Fleet solution for the borough.

Powered by the latest generation MAN D08 SCR only, 6 cylinder, Euro 6D compliant engine, measuring 6.9 litres, the new MAN TGM 4X4 gritter is fitted with a permanently mounted Econ 6 m3 spreader. Manufactured from high tensile strength mild steel the spreader body, once fabricated, is shot blasted and treated with a zinc rich epoxy coating then heat baked to minimise corrosion from salt.

Using Econ’s innovative Low Throw spreader technology, which ensures salt is spread underneath parked cars and oncoming traffic, particularly important in areas of high traffic density, the vehicle is fitted with Econ’s advanced Spargo Touch control route guidance system.

Spargo Touch control provides the driver with prescribed route information highlighting details such as low bridges and route obstructions. Once the body and chassis are married a coating of wax rust proofing helps protect the chassis from corrosion. 

In using advanced SCR (Selective Catalyst Reduction) only technology to meet the ‘ultra-low emission’ restrictions posed by London, the MAN D08 engine negates the requirement of an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculating) system.

This means that the new D08 is not only more efficient in operation, but oil-change intervals are extended from 12 months to 18 months, or 80,000km and it’s 103kg lighter too when compared to the previous generation engine.  

Jonathan Lupton, Econ Operations Director, said; “The attraction of this vehicle for this challenging operation is simple, not only is there a reduction in both emissions and serviceable parts but there is also a weight saving too. This means that we can further help our customers maximise their fleet efficiency and improve both vehicle uptime and payload.

“Gritters are known to have extended periods without use, however, due to vehicle duty cycles and the harsh environments they work in, the SCR only solution is ideal for this operation.”   

Sitting on top of the robust and easy to mount TGM 4X4 chassis is the low, compact and narrow MAN C cab. The C cab, with its low 3119 mm overall roof height, offers a deep windscreen and large side windows, it’s low and easy to access and affords the driver excellent vision and high levels of comfort, all of which are perfect attributes for this application.     

Matched to the MAN TipMatic 12 speed automatic gearbox, with advanced off-road soft wear, both axles feature electronic diff locks, the rear axle comes with hub reduction, which offers a further weight saving, the front axle is driven and is disengageable when all-wheel drive isn’t required. Ordered from the factory with a PTO transfer case management system (VSM) and a front mounting DIN plate, the TGM 18.250 4X4 has a wheelbase of 3900 mm and is ready for front mountable equipment such as snow blade or plough. 

Jonathan continued, “Making it possible to meet the maximum height restrictions for the majority of the low bridges across the borough vastly improves operating efficiency. This means that operators can plan a route by the least miles travelled rather than creating extended and lengthy routes necessary to circumnavigate the many bridges. Routes can therefore be covered in less time and miles, saving both fuel and exhaust emissions.”

The result of this trial will be a win-win for both the borough and operators who provide winter maintenance solutions across hilly areas and where low bridges are of concern. The enhanced levels of grip that the 4×4 drive system offers will help deal with the reduction of grip when the weather turns.

Speaking about this trial with Econ, Russell Stevenson, Special Products Manager, MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd, said, “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to be part of this trial and we have a great opportunity ahead of us with this Econ bodied TGM 4X4. The hilly borough of Barnet has many challenges and to meet these we needed a robust, efficient and trustworthy chassis, 4X4 levels of grip, a low compact and clear vision cab and a power-train which meets London’s ultra-low emission restrictions.”

Econ is the UK’s largest supplier of salt spreaders Gritters & Snowploughs, they manufacture a range of bodies at their plant in Ripon North Yorkshire. Their current range of winter maintenance machinery includes dry and PreWet gritters from 1.7cu to 12cu capacity, Snowploughs to suit 7.5t to 32t chassis and dedicated or combination liquid sprayers. All Econ machinery is built to order and can be customised to suit a customer’s geographical or spreading contract requirements.

PCL Group, North London, a franchised MAN Truck & Bus partner, prepared the new vehicle and will service and maintain it at their brand new and comprehensive Waltham Cross facility.

All MAN vehicles are supported by the MAN Truck & Bus UK’s Nationwide Commercial Vehicle Dealer network, with many operating extended hours, including round-the-clock servicing and solution maintenance for customers.

The entire MAN range benefits from MAN’s Mobile24 24-hour assistance service, which guarantees customers a professional roadside partner throughout Europe 365 days of the year. 

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