Project: In-Fleet Trials of Fuel Saving Interventions for Trucks

Reference: TE335

Last update: 20/01/2006 15:10:44

Objectives

There are a wide variety of fuel saving interventions available, which the manufacturers claim will improve vehicle performance and efficiency. A fuel saving intervention is a product or service, which is designed to reduce the fuel use of a vehicle.

However there is very little guidance on effectively testing of these interventions in the context of a fuel management programme. Fleet managers are frequently bombarded by sales literature for products that offer fuel savings, which seem to be good to be true. They may be tempted to fit and forget a device that appears to be pay for itself in months. However installing such a device may be a waste of money if it does not work or has detrimental affects.

Frequently, the fuel saving figures quoted by manufacturers are based on estimates for the vehicles run on tracks or test routes, or based on models tested in wind tunnels or other carefully controlled environments. Therefore vehicle operators are unlikely to realise the same level of savings on the road, and may operators discover drawbacks that would not be apparent over a short trial period.

The products ability to improve performance in a cost-effective manner may vary depending on the operational characteristics of the organisation. For these reasons, the encouragement of in depth and longer-term in-fleet evaluations are essential because many of the interventions may only reveal their true effects under the rigours of normal operational conditions.

In the light of these potential concerns, there is a need for an impartial guide on how to carry out In fleet trials (IFT) to understand the effectiveness of any fuel saving intervention in a fleet.

The guide needs to encourage operators to carefully consider the interventions to be used, the methodologies for carrying out the in-fleet testing, highlighting potential benefits and drawbacks and what these mean for the operator. This will be done in context of three main types of fuel saving intervention devices

1) Tyres
2) Transmissions
3) Telematics

Measuring and monitoring fuel-efficiency and other key performance indicators lie at the heart of the TEBP programme, which seeks to promote a systematic and sustained approach to improving efficiency. For example, it makes little sense to invest in aerodynamic kit if the organisation does not run the type of vehicles or trips that create significant drag, or the vehicles are poorly maintained and driven in a manner that increases fuel consumption.

Description

For managers investigating the use of fuel saving interventions or setting up their own in-fleet trials. This guide shows how to establish the potential performance of fuel saving devices in your fleet.

Contractor(s)

AEA Technology Environment
Harwell Business Centre, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QJ
+44 (0)1235 432201

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £32,000.00

Actual start date: 01 February 2005

Actual completion date: 01 September 2005

Publication(s)

In-Fleet Trials of Fuel Saving Interventions
Author: Freight Best Practice
Publication date: 01/09/2005
£0.00
Source: Freight Best Practice
More information: http://www.freightbestpractice.org.uk/imagebank/TE335.pdf

Summary of results

  1. The structure of the guide Operators considering in-fleet trials of fuel saving
    interventions can find information within the guide to help with each stage of the process. All aspects, from an overview of available interventions to making decisions based on the trials data, are covered in the following sections:

    Section 2 - considers the key areas of performance management. Based on the principle of 'You can't manage what you don't measure', advice is given for
    operators to gain a better understanding of their current performance. This is necessary to establish a benchmark against which to assess the performance of
    an intervention.

    Section 3 - looks at the most common types of fuel saving intervention and outlines the principal factors for operators to consider regarding their use.

    Section 4 - focuses in more detail on three interventions, namely tyres, telematics and transmissions. This section aims to provide operators with a good
    understanding of each of these, how they can potentially reduce fuel costs and the principal considerations to be given to using each one.

    Sections 5-7 provide guidelines for in-fleet trials, data
    management and taking external factors into account.
    The information is presented as a list of considerations
    to incorporate into any in-fleet trial procedure. Many of
    these may seem obvious, but research shows that these
    are areas where mistakes occur. The guidance given in
    these sections should enable operators to design their
    own trial processes that are relevant to their
    operations.