Having delivered 15 low-entry Econics a couple of years ago, the manufacturer’s representative in East Anglia has now supplied another 24. All are 6x2 Econic 2630L models with 7.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engines that transmit their 295bhp outputs to the road via six-speed Allison automatic gearboxes.
Painted by the Mercedes-Benz factory in ultramarine blue shade of the council, the trucks are fitted with Geesinknorba’s single-compartment GPM IV compactor bodies, which offer 20m3 capacities and are paired with its combi split bin lifts.
Rear-steer axles enhance manoeuvrability – the reduced turning circle makes the job easier for drivers negotiating tight streets in this bustling part of the capital. So, too, do the deep, panoramic windscreen and low seating position that aid visibility.
The vehicles supplied to Lewisham Council by Orwell Truck & Van are fitted with Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ blind spot camera system, which comprises a seven-inch monitor, two cameras on the exterior mirrors, and others facing front and rear. They are also equipped with Active Brake Assist 4 emergency braking technology, which is programmed to recognise other vehicles at higher speeds, as well as pedestrians when moving more slowly.
In addition to the refuse vehicles Orwell Truck & Van will be supplying the authority shortly with a Thompsons-bodied tipper grab based on the same 26-tonne Econic chassis. This will be assigned to clean-up duties after incidents of fly tipping.
The vehicles are now working alongside a pair of 18-tonne Econics with plug-in electric bodies, also by Geesinknorba, which are used to compact and remove refuse that would otherwise accumulate around traders’ stalls at Lewisham Market and Deptford Market.
Noel Everest, Lewisham Council’s service group manager for passenger & fleet services, commented: “We’d fallen behind at one stage with our replacement programme, and took on some short-term rentals to tide us over. In the last couple of years, though, we’ve upgraded the entire fleet.
Lewisham Council maintains the fleet in its own workshop but receives warranty support and parts deliveries from the local Mercedes-Benz dealer.