MAN sets out to save fuel

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Commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN reckons transport operators could realistically save £650 million a year on articulated trucks alone, if drivers were trained to drive more fuel efficiently.

And it has upgraded its telematics system, under the name Eco Style, to make it easier for companies to measure performance and modify driver behaviour.

The company reckons there are 132,000 tractor units covering 11.2 billion miles a year in the UK. They consume some £6.5 billion worth of diesel and produce about 13.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

MAN’s operations director Dave Cussans argues that ten per cent of this could be saved if driver behaviour was changed.  The first step is the measure performance – Coussans  calculates that about 100,000 of the 132,000 artics on the road have no telematics systems.

The system then highlights a number of areas ripe for improvement:

1. Harsh Braking
2. Harsh acceleration
3. Use of cruise control
4. Engine idle monitoring
5. Correct use of gears
6. Time spent in the sweet spot.

MAN’s new system has resulted from an examination of the performance of more than 1,000 drivers monitored through its R&M service. From this it has created seven categories.

Only the top two categories (ten per cent of the total) perform up to the bench mark, while categories C & D (80 per cent of the total) need some training to reach the benchmark.

Categories E, F & G, accounting for the remaining ten per cent, need increasingly high levels of training to get up to scratch.

Cussans says that in the MAN research, getting the drivers in categories C & D  up to benchmark standard would produce a fuel saving of 11 per cent. And he points out that the effectiveness of the system lies the fact that it measures behaviour not fuel.

The system provides a series of reports designed first to highlight problems and then drill down to detailed performance tables.

Cussans points to the example of J&B Haulage which introduced the system for two vehicles and found that over a four week period, the annualised fuel cost fell from £67,000 to £54,700.

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