Freightliner’s EconicSD tailored for Canadian and U.S. market

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Freightliner Trucks today unveiled its EconicSD waste collection truck, a North American offering that focuses on driver comfort and safety.

The truck, which was first introduced in Germany in 1998 and updated in 2013, completes the company’s vocational lineup, and as Richard Saward, general manager of vocational and government sales for Freightliner Trucks, said, is built to serve a segment that sees up to 1,400 stops per day in our neighborhoods where safety is a primary concern.

“Vocation segments have a direct effect on our everyday lives,” said Saward. “It’s all fun and games until the trash can stays out on the road.”

Freightliner EconicSD high cab rear loader.

The Freightliner EconicSD is a low-entry COE waste collection truck, equipped with the Detroit DD8 mid-range engine and Detroit Assurance suite safety system.

Leveraging the global engineering experience of parent company Daimler AG, the refuse truck has been tailored to meet the needs of the North American customer.

“By working closely with our North American waste collection customers and analyzing how we could provide a solution that best benefits their businesses, we recognized the opportunity to adapt the Freightliner EconicSD for this market,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). “Our customers continually seek to elevate the safety and performance of their waste collection vehicles, and the Freightliner EconicSD is the right solution for the distinct needs of this segment.”

More than 125 modifications were made the EconicSD in an effort to meet North American demands.

Saward underscored the vehicle’s robust safety offerings during a sneak peak of the truck prior to the April 24 unveil at WasteExpo in Las Vegas.

The EconicSD is equipped with a panoramic windshield and low seating position to enhance driver visibility to mitigate incidents with pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers.

“Waste collection vehicles need to navigate tight turns, busy urban streets and suburban neighborhoods, so safety is a critical concern at all times,” added Jeff Allen, senior vice-president, operations and specialty vehicles for DTNA.

The mirror system provides an expanded field of vision, and a short wheelbase and aggressive wheel cut delivers better maneuverability for tight residential areas.

Detroit Assurance suite also comes with the EconicSD. Standard safety features include active brake assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Optional safety offerings include side guard assist and a built-in camera system with 360-degree views displayed on a flat screen dash monitor.

The truck’s cab and chassis are designed and manufactured in Woeth, Germany, with the final assembly being completed in Gaffney, S.C., at the Freightliner Custom Chassis manufacturing facility.

“The cab-over-engine design for the North American waste collection market is a unique concept, so collaborating with Heil and McNeilus was critical to ensure a streamlined upfit process and efficiencies from the very beginning,” said Richard Howard, senior vice-president, sales and marketing for DTNA.

Driver comfort and safety were also a focus for the Freightliner EconicSD.

Its low entry allows for a single 19-inch step to enter the cab, with one more step to the driver’s platform. A kneeling feature also reduces step-in height and a lifting feature improves clearance over objects.

The spacious cab comes with an air-suspended driver’s seat, additional seating to accommodate up to three passengers in the high cab model. A digitized instrument cluster displaying key information on an LCD screen on the dash, intuitive steering wheel controls, and a walk-through cab to allow drivers to exit the cab safely are also features of the EconicSD.

“Inside and out, every aspect of the Freightliner EconicSD is designed with the customer in mind. We understand what impacts their bottom lines, and as their partners we are driven to create solutions that contribute to their long-term success,” said Howard. “The Freightliner EconicSD is an exceptional solution that we are proud to bring to the North American waste collection market.”

The EconicSD is designed to be fully prepped for body builder integration, with a guideline of recommendations.

The truck will go into production in October of this year, will be available for order this June, and delivered in April 2019.

As for pricing, Saward said, “This will not be the cheapest truck, but it will be the best.”

Richard Saward unveils the EconicSD during WasteExpo in Las Vegas April 24.

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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