The first Econic with refrigerated body was a gas-powered model, trialled by a major retailer some years ago, but Reynolds’ vehicles are the first with diesel engines to go into operation.
Supplied by dealer Rygor, on contract hire through Gulliver’s Truck Hire, the 18-tonne vehicles have the Econic’s trademark panoramic windscreen and a full-length folding side door giving the driver better visibility of cyclists and pedestrians.
Both are Econic 1830 models with high-torque straight-six engines, transmitting 299bhp via standard-fit Allison automatic gearboxes.
Their single compartment insulated bodies are by Gray & Adams. Features include a curved front to the roof which blends into the cab’s air deflector, aerodynamically profiled panel cappings, access doors on both sides and a 1,500kg Dhollandia tail-lift.
The vehicles are also fitted with Sentinel 360-degree camera systems, which also sound a warning when a cyclist is alongside, as well as strobe lighting for use when crews are unloading at night.
The trucks leave Reynolds’ Waltham Cross distribution centre by 3am, with each making 30-35 deliveries in London before returning at midday. To help with noise reduction, the Econics have full air full air suspension, an underslung Thermo King UT-800 fridge, said by the manufacturer to be “whisper-quiet”, along with sound-deadening floor coatings to both vehicle bodies.
Reynolds’ Steve White is responsible for the operator’s 250-strong fleet and he was familiar with the Econic, having worked previously in the waste industry. He says: “Given the focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety in London I’ve come to realise that it could be ideally suited to our operation, too.
“The Econic comes at a higher capital cost than a conventional 18-tonner, while our new trucks also carry approximately 750kg less. The reduced payload capacity is partly down to the fact that we’ve chosen to rack out our Econics, which is not something we’d usually do – this is not a problem though, because we always bulk out before weight becomes an issue.
“What’s most important, is that our ‘urban prototypes’ serve to reinforce our commitment to compliance and road safety, while also demonstrating innovation in our field of expertise.”
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL), says of the FORS-accredited operator: “I’m pleased that Reynolds is at the vanguard of forward-thinking companies by using safer lorries with higher levels of driver direct vision.”