ENERCON : Winds of Change

Mercedes-Benz is hoping to change the way Canadian fleets think about 4x4 needs. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes-Benz is hoping to change the way Canadian fleets think about 4×4 needs.

ENERCON Canada made the news recently when the company took delivery of 20 brand new Mercedes- Benz Sprinters, bringing ENERCON’s global Sprinter count to well over 1,500, according to company representatives.

If you’re not familiar with the ENERCON name, think wind energy turbines, and wind farms. And if you’re wondering where the Sprinters come into play, they’re used by technicians to service and maintain the company’s mammoth turbines, sometimes in the most remote parts–both here in Canada, and around the globe.

Sprinter vs. pick-up

When fleet managers think “remote parts of Canada,” and they wonder what kind of vehicle’s they’ll need to get their staff to the job site, most think “pick-up trucks.” But Mercedes-Benz is hoping to change that knee-jerk reaction, especially since the Sprinter boasts 4×4 capability.

“In North America, when you think ‘4×4’ you automatically think ‘pick-up truck,’” admits Michael Coote, Key Account Manager, Mercedes-Benz Vans. “But do you really need a big pick-up with a big engine and with the added expense of an aftermarket cab? We have the total package with the Sprinter, and it’s fuel efficient. Plus, you can keep your equipment, tools and supplies locked up inside securely.”

Coote explains that the 4×4 technology used by Sprinter is a commercial-grade system. “It’s not a 4MATIC,” he explains. “It’s not for passenger cars. It’s a commercial, dedicated system.”

This means the Sprinter can take ENERCON technicians off-road to remote windmills, much like a pick-up truck would, but with extra benefits. “Canada is a pickup country,” said Michael Weidemann, Executive VP of ENERCON Canada. “People love pick-ups, but we needed a better vehicle. With the 4×4 Sprinter we really believe we have the vehicle we need, particularly because the Sprinter has a better payload, a better working area, better lighting, and heating.”

Weidemann admits that getting his technicians used to the Sprinter idea, takes a bit of time, but sooner or later they appreciate the fact that these vans can get them to and from the job site, while providing certain extras a pick-up simply can’t. “We have to give them one winter to learn to love this vehicle,” Weidemann said. “If you talk to them a year from now, I’m sure they’ll tell you that they really appreciate it. We use it all over the world, so we know it’s a great vehicle.”

Canadian footprint

Established in Germany in the early 1980s, ENERCON has installed more than 25,600 turbines worldwide, ranging from 500 kW to 7.5 MW. They entered the Canadian market in 2001, and currently have over 600 employees with offices located in Montreal, Toronto and Dartmouth, service stations coast-to-coast, manufacturing sites in Matane, Quebec and Beamsville, Ontario, and a dedicated training and warehouse facility in Boucherville, Quebec.

The company currently employs a fleet of 35 Sprinters to maintain turbines in seven provinces and territories. That number is likely to grow, along with future expansion here in Canada, and abroad.

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