Mercedes-Benz has made its Econic more attractive to general haulage operations with the addition of a 12-speed gearbox, with Travis Perkins taking delivery of the first 10 UK equipped examples.

The low-entry vehicle has previously only been available with an automatic six-speed Allison transmission gearbox.

This Allison option, according to Mercedes, remains the most comfortable option for the refuse operations with which the Econic is more traditionally associated with.

But market demand has prompted it to introduce a 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 system for both the 4x2 and 6x2 Econic axle configurations, which is intended to provide better fuel economy for haulage operations.

The 229hp Travis Perkins trucks have straight-six engines and are fitted with Massey Engineering dropside bodies and HMF long boom cranes.

Dressed in the traditional green and gold Travis Perkins colours, the trucks will work in and around London with two already on the road in Sutton.

Travis Perkins central fleet manager James Taylor said: “We have been leading calls for the Econic to be offered with the Mercedes PowerShift transmission, and it is gratifying that the manufacturer has listened to what we’ve been saying and acted on it.

"The Mercedes-Benz system offers improved fuel economy and significant cost savings, compared to the Allison version. It is our intention, therefore, to standardise on Mercedes PowerShift when placing future Econic orders."