Truck Test 2014: Slow down to save fuel!

Truck Test 2014: Slow down to save fuel! 1024 313 TruckScience

Truck Test 2014 took place over 3 days, from 8th to 10th April 2014.  The test was organised by our partners in South Africa, Hellberg Transport Management (HTM), together with FOCUS magazine.  This year, the MCV (Medium Commercial Vehicle) segment was tested; 4×2 freight carriers, with a V-rating from 5,000 kg to 9,000 kg.  9 vehicles from 4 manufacturers – FUSO, Hino, Hyundai and Isuzu – took part in the test.

Reduce speed by 10km/hr and save 1.5 litres per 100km

Measuring fuel consumption on Truck Test 2014

This year’s test confirmed once again that the simplest and most effective way to save fuel is to slow down, finding that each reduction of 10km/hr can save an average 1.5 litres of fuel per 100km.

Drivers beating the system

Truck Test 2014 Drivers

The legal speed limit on the long-distance section of the test was 120km/hr, but knowing that OEMs would have done their homework, HTM used the TruckScience Performance module, prior to the test, to simulate fuel consumption at an average maximum speed of 100km/hr on this section of the test.

Truck Test 2014 Driver

With Fuel Consumption weighing heavily on the minds of drivers and the expectation of their employers weighing heavily on their shoulders, drivers weren’t nearly so heavy on the accelerator, driving an average of 69km/hr on Day 1, a long-distance route with laden trucks, 44km/hr on Day 2, a stop-start route with laden trucks and 70km/hr on Day 3, the long-distance route with unladen trucks.

Speed - Fuso Canter FE7-136

Their speeds grew more consistent from Day 1 to Day 3, with everyone keeping a keen eye on their own and the other participants’ performance.

Proven Accuracy of TruckScience technology

To simulate this exemplary driver behaviour, TruckScience was used to simulate Fuel Consumption and Productivity once again after the test, this time at an average speed of 72km/hr on Day 153 km/hr on Day 2 and 74km/hr on Day 3.  We always aim to err on the conservative side and therefore were delighted to see that simulated Productivity figures differed from actual figures achieved on the road by an incredibly small 1.5%!

Test Preparation

Weighing in

Vehicles were assembled one week before the start of the test, to have tracking units fitted and to be weighed and generally checked against legal requirements, before going out on the road.  Each vehicle’s fuel tank had to be fitted with a clear sight tube, to allow precise measurement of fuel consumed when refuelling, and to promote transparency among participants.

For the actual test, each entrant supplied their own vehicle, complete with load and driver, as well as an observer to travel in another participant’s truck.

Test Routes

Day 1 of the test saw drivers take on a long-distance return trip from Hartbeespoort to Belfast, a total distance of 511km on the N4 national route.  This section of the corridor which links the east and west coasts of southern Africa is a four-lane dual-carriageway.

Truck Test Route - Day 1

The altitude along the route varies between 1200 and 2000m above sea level.

Truck Test Route Altitude Profile - Day 1

Vehicles were laden to Permissible Vehicle Mass and weighed before setting out.

WyWeighbridge results

On Day 2, participants drove the Gerotek Ride and Handling Track, with trucks laden once again, to simulate a punishing stop-start inner-city-like route.  Drivers were taken around the track by bus and then allowed to complete two circuits to familiarise themselves with the track. Total trip distance on Day 2 was 94.7km.

Truck Test Route - Day 2

Day 3 tested the vehicles over the same route as Day 1, but this time unladen and with drivers using what they had learned on Day 1 on the route to hopefully improve performance.

Detailed Results

The following is a summary of the results of Truck Test 2014.  For a full report, as well as detailed results, visit the FOCUS on transport and logistics magazine website here.

Truck Test 2014 Detailed Results Table

A neutral view of product performance

The information gained from the Truck Test is very valuable, as Tiny Daya – Product and Application Engineering Manager at Isuzu Truck SA – points out, “For Isuzu Trucks, it reaffirms our brand values of fuel consumption, information and product knowledge, while also advising non-truckers on how trucks operate, and giving fleet decision-makers a neutral view of product performance”.

The truck is half the battle

As we know, choosing the correct truck for an application is only half the battle.  While we find that the fuel consumption ‘sweet spot’ for speed is at about 70km/hr, a vehicle would present an increased risk on the road at such low speed, therefore TruckScience recommends 80km/hr for ideal Productivity (Payload x Speed / Fuel).  Among other things, regular monitoring of driver behaviour, aerodynamic equipment and tyre pressure are all necessary to keep fuel consumption in check.

Truck Test 2015

Truck Test 2015 to simulate performance of extra heavy vehicles

As Truck Test 2014 drew to a close, manufacturers were already looking ahead to Truck Test 2015, this time expressing their desire to test extra heavy commercial vehicles once again.  To keep up to date with plans for Truck Test 2015, keep an eye on FOCUS on transport and logistics magazine or Contact Us to see how you can get involved.

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