Econ Engineering, the UK’s leading manufacturer of winter maintenance and highways vehicles, has launched its latest innovation – a revolutionary electric gritter.
This latest innovation is an Electric Quick Change Body (E-QCB), which is a zero-emissions solution that reduces carbon footprint and noise pollution. The prototype features Econ’s innovative demountable bodywork, which uses hydraulic rams to enable the vehicle to switch from gritting to tipping in just 15 minutes, thanks to a choice of different body options developed in-house by Econ.
The first in this new ‘Econ Zero’ range is a fully operational prototype built on a 19-tonne Volvo FE Electric 4×2 chassis. Its development follows a period of close partnership working between Econ Engineering’s R&D team, and product specialists from Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, and dealer Crossroads Truck & Bus.
Jonathan Lupton, Managing Director at Econ Engineering, said: “We’re excited to finally introduce the E-QCB to the market with Volvo. We have spent a long time developing the new E-QCB, undertaking comprehensive redesigns and trialling it, to ensure that we can offer a fully electric solution for our customers that can be used all-year round.”
“The vehicle operates best in urban environments, where daily mileage is typically less than some longer distance motorways or rural routes. As it is easy to switch body types with this model, customers can benefit from operating the vehicle all year-round. We are committed to continuing to evolve our Zero Range, and other renewable energy innovations, as the UK’s infrastructure develops in support of this.”
This first Volvo FE E-QCB has been unveiled at the Econ stand at Cold Comfort 2023 in Harrogate, a specialist conference and exhibition dedicated to winter highway maintenance services.
Christian Coolsaet, Managing Director of Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, adds: “Every part of the transport sector needs to have its sights set on achieving net zero, and gritting and snowploughing is no exception. The team at Econ has developed an exceptional new product with our FE Electric chassis at its heart; this is going to allow gritter fleets to reap the benefits of operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient trucks.”
Crucially for drivers, the new FE Electric offers an improved working environment due to less vibrations and almost silent operation, allowing them to better focus on the road ahead. The Volvo powertrain, with two electric motors combined with a two-speed gearbox, offers an ultra-smooth driving experience, with power delivery handled by a unique traction control system developed to master slippery surfaces.
Econ is a Yorkshire-based company, which has been at the forefront of winter maintenance vehicle solutions for over 50 years. It designs and manufactures gritters and other vehicles that are widely used by local authorities and private contractors across the UK.