Images © Elke Maria Latinovic
Driving intelligently and save: Not only fuel-efficient vehicles can decisively lower diesel consumption but also driving patterns – as proven by the Connected CoDriver-Training by MAN.
Truck driver Josef Vierhaus en route on one of his tours, as his hands-free phone system rings. The voice greeting him on the other end of the line will become very familiar to Vierhaus in the coming weeks. It is the voice of Hugo Siewert, trainer for Connected CoDriver. During the drivers’ training devised by MAN ProfiDrive, Siewert receives access to the vehicle data, analyses the information and then communicates with the driver via phone to develop a fuel-saving driving style. Vierhaus, who works for the forwarding company Timeflextrans GmbH in Schermbeck, Germany, is one of 1,000 Connected CoDriver participants and today receives his first training unit.
Siewert: Hello Mr Vierhaus, here is Hugo Siewert from MAN ProfiDrive. Have you been informed that we have access to your vehicle data and seek to jointly develop strategies with you to lower fuel consumption?
Vierhaus: Yes, I have been briefed.
Siewert: Great. Might you have 20 minutes for me? I’ve looked at your data and would like to discuss with you how you can optimise your driving style.
Vierhaus: Gladly. How high is my actual average consumption?
Siewert: You are underway at a rate of 31 litres per 100 kilometres on average.
Vierhaus: Is that a bad value?
Siewert: No, it isn’t bad, but we can certainly still tweak that a little. I have noticed, for instance, that you set the cruise control to 89 kmph, while your actual average speed amounts to 68 kmph. Why don’t you attempt this: Set your cruise control to 85 kmph and I promise you that you will arrive sooner.
Vierhaus: I can’t imagine that. How could that possibly work?
Siewert: Well, you will arrive at your destination sooner with a constant and slightly lower speed instead of continuous acceleration and braking – while also saving fuel at the same time.
Vierhaus: Ok. That should be interesting.
Siewert: It is also important that you drive as much as possible with the cruise control engaged, and not accelerate manually. In addition, keep in mind to drive as low-rev and constant as possible. You are currently geared up to an engine speed of 1,600 revolutions. It would be ideal, if you didn’t exceed 1,400, as higher revs at identical speed mean higher fuel consumption.
Vierhaus: I’ll gladly try that, but it won’t come easy. I’ve been driving trucks for 41 years and have just grown accustomed to this style of driving…
Siewert: That is very understandable. I have been driving trucks myself since 1978. Yet do believe me, it is worthwhile to break with these habits. It’s rather challenging at first, yet a constant driving style will also be more relaxing for you in the long term. And you are already a very good driver. Now you’ll just have to apply a few small tricks.
Vierhaus: Like what?
Siewert: Take the matter of coasting. Currently, you are in coasting mode for merely 3% or so of your distance. There is much more potential in that. You are aware, of course, that you are not burning a single drop of fuel while in coasting mode. So when you cover a distance of 10,000 kilometers that would amount to 300 kilometers without any fuel consumption. Yet you could be coasting up to 20% in coasting, for example by driving uphill and turning off the cruise control shortly before the crest. That would utilise coasting in an optimised fashion.
Mr Vierhaus, I’ll ring you again next week and we will talk about braking techniques and engine idling and will also examine which points you have already been able to implement. Until then, I wish you a pleasant and safe journey.
Vierhaus: Thank you very much and until next week!
Josef Vierhaus has developed into an exemplary student: After three months of coaching with the Connected CoDriver program, he successfully reduced his fuel consumption from 31 litres to 24,7 litres per 100 kilometers.
Images © Elke Maria Latinovic