Warburtons, the UK’s Number One branded baker, is delighted to announce that it will become the first truck operator in Britain to trial a new tractor unit from Mercedes-Benz that combines a low-entry cab with a low-emission, gas-powered engine.

The 4x2 Econic tractor unit (front section that pulls the trailer) is on a six-month trial with the UK’s largest baker, after which the Company will have the option of adding the vehicle to its national fleet on a long-term lease.

Warburtons Group Transport Manager, Mark Sutcliffe, said he was delighted to be working with Mercedes-Benz on the project. Mark comments: “They share our commitment to high standards of operation and have a great reputation for quality and innovation.”

Warburtons has been operating gas-powered and dual-fuel trucks for ten years. Today, 25% of its 100 tractor units and a number of its 800 delivery trucks, which range in size from 7.5 to 15 tonnes, run wholly or partly on gas.

The new Econic vehicle produces 20% less CO2 than a diesel vehicle and emits virtually no particles and dust. This puts it ahead of the Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicle (EEV) standard and well ahead of the latest Euro emission standard for diesel vehicles (Euro V).

“Over the next few months we will be monitoring the Econic’s performance closely,” continued Mark. “The early signs are positive. The low-entry cab design, with its easy access and excellent visibility, has certainly been well received by our drivers.”

He added: “Gas offers two key advantages. First, of course, it produces fewer emissions, and therefore helps us to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment.  But it is also a lot quieter too, which is good for us when we’re operating in city centres or near residential areas.”

Warburtons has its own gas refuelling facilities in Bolton. Its existing powered trucks have until now been supplied by various manufacturers, but all have been converted to run on the alternative fuel by after-market specialists.

““The Econic is different,” said Mark. “For the first time we’ve been able to source a gas-powered vehicle straight from the production line of a mainstream manufacturer, and it’s come with full back-up and bumper-to-bumper warranty cover.”

The Econic has been given a full vinyl wrap livery by The Signbox, which depicts a field of golden wheat beneath a sunny blue sky, and bears the slogan “helping to keep the air as fresh as our bread”.

Working with a 13.6m Gray & Adams insulated box trailer, the tractor is now running between Warburtons national network of bakeries and depots, which stretches from Aberdeen, to Newton Abbott to Thetford, as well as making bulk deliveries to the company’s larger customers.