A test drive to compare two fuel-saving wonders
Two heavyweights are on the road, heading for the Spanish town of Irún. In the background, the monumental landscape of the Pyrenees rushes by. These are scenes from the MAN TGX EfficientLine 3 tour – a test drive that puts the new TGX EfficientLine 3 against its predecessor. The new efficiency package is not only lower in consumption, it also boasts a 20 HP increase in power. The tour aims to prove once and for all that even with this boost in power, the new truck is ultimately more efficient. The route winds through six European countries, with events being organised at a total of eight pit-stop points to entertain the crowds. The tour is being documented from start to finish by a team tasked with posting daily updates on its progress via the MAN social media channels.
It’s 10 a.m. on a large petrol station forecourt in Irún and the first few truckers are emerging from their cabins, enticed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee. There’s a constant stream of new people who want to find out more about the MAN vehicles, including drivers who used to work for competing truck companies. Around 200 people have gathered to get a closer look at the new TGX EfficientLine 3, as well as enjoy the delicious wraps that are on offer. Apart from the trucks themselves, the highlight of the event is undoubtedly the Selfie Box, which attracts great numbers of visitors keen to snap photos of themselves posing in front of the two trucks. The event also features an iPad station, where visitors can FaceTime their friends and families. There’s also an opportunity to buy souvenirs such as travel cases and caps.
By the time the trucks arrive in Irún in northern Spain, they’ve already covered quite some distance since the beginning of their journey in Munich on 20 July 2016. First, they headed to Bregenz, then through Milan and La Jonquera before setting their sights on Irún. The route taken by the MAN TGX EfficientLine 3 tour is especially interesting as it presents a wide variety of challenges for both the trucks and their drivers, with climbs, bends and flat terrain constantly alternating along the way. The route runs alongside the picturesque French Alps, past Grenoble and down France’s share of the Mediterranean coastline, through Nîmes and Montpellier along the Côte d’Azur. A status check in Irún reveals that the TGX EfficientLine 3 has made significant fuel savings compared to its predecessor on the journey so far.
But what is it that makes the MAN TGX EfficientLine 3 even more efficient than its predecessor? First and foremost, this is down to its advanced driveline. The MAN D26 engine delivers a whole 20 HP more power and 200 Newton metres more torque. But that’s not all: it also saves fuel, as it features a wealth of technology designed to reduce consumption, such as lower-friction steel pistons and fire rings, optimised oil cooling with a thermostat and sensor-controlled fan speed regulation. Alongside the new engine, smart assistance systems such as the GPS-controlled MAN EfficientCruise® cruise control and the EfficientRoll gearbox function also help to save fuel. EfficientCruise uses stored map data to detect downhill sections and inclines along the route ahead. It uses this information to adapt the speed and thus reduce fuel consumption even further. In addition, it's smart capabilities also prevent the MAN TipMatic® automatic gear-shift system from downshifting on inclines. This means that the truck builds up momentum just at the right time before an incline, so that it can roll down the hill at a reduced speed once it passes over the crest. The combination of this system and EfficientRoll means that unnecessary engine braking action can be avoided and momentum from the descent can be used for the next ascent. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption without losing any time on the road. Willi Pfeffer, who has been part of the MAN ProfiDrive team for 22 years and is one of the four drivers on the tour, is delighted: “We’re so much better off with the TGX EfficientLine 3. Nothing can beat its fuel savings! We drivers all think it’s great.”
After the event in Irún, the trucks make a stop in the French town of Corrèzes and the Swiss towns of Bulle and Birr, before finally returning to Munich on 28 July 2016 after a journey covering 4106 kilometres in total. At each pit stop, the TGX EfficientLine 3 was gradually covered with graffiti by a group of artists from Munich, building up a picture of its adventurous journey: 6 COUNTRIES, 8 STAGES, 2 TRUCKS, 4,106 KILOMETRES. The spectacular tour of two fuel-saving wonders.