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Fuel consumption in heavy long-haul traffic can be reduced to less than 20 litres per 100 kilometres in daily operation. The Scania Transport Laboratory shows how.
With the right vehicles, an uncompromising focus on driver behaviour and use of the computer-based Scania Driver Support system, fuel consumption can be reduced to very low levels. This is the assertion of the Scania Transport Laboratory, and it’s done the research to prove it.
“On our best trips between Sweden and the Netherlands, we have reached 18.2 litres/100 kilometres, a level that many say is impossible,” says Anders Gustavsson, Managing Director of the Scania Transport Laboratory.
Fuel economy and road safety
Scania Transport Laboratory is a wholly owned Scania subsidiary that tests and evaluates vehicle properties and performance in commercial road haulage. It also trains and coaches its drivers in economical and safe driving techniques.
Today the company consists of 65 drivers, 20 tractor units and 75 semitrailers. The fleet includes competitors’ trucks as well, to provide relevant comparisons in real-life conditions.
The practical assignment of the Transport Laboratory is to be responsible for part of Scania’s European production flow by hauling freight and components between the production units in Södertälje in Sweden and Zwolle in the Netherlands.
“From the start in 2007 we wanted the Transport Lab to facilitate communications between Scania’s product development and the daily operations of a haulage company,” says Gustavsson.
“The dialogue works very well,” he says. “Virtually every week, our drivers are visited by employees of Scania’s research and development departments, who want to talk about concrete ideas and improvement opportunities.”
Lower engine revs
One result is that the Transport Laboratory now operates tractor units that are configured with a faster rear-axle gear ratio. This leads to lower engine revs at cruising speed, which can reduce fuel consumption by 3 to 10 percent.
Another result is a new rear air deflector known as a “boat-tail” spoiler, which is mounted at the back of the company’s semitrailers. The spoiler increases the length of the vehicle combination by 30 centimetres, which is equivalent to the extra length permitted by the EU. The results are very promising.
“The fuel savings are close to 4 percent,” Gustavsson says. “For our trucks, which run 360,000 kilometres per year and consume an average of 26 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, it represents an annual saving of nearly 4,000 litres of fuel per truck and lower CO2 emissions.”
Train and coach drivers
But the biggest improvements in terms of fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear are still achieved by means of consistent efforts to train and coach drivers, combined with systems such as Scania Fleet Management and Scania Driver Support, Gustavsson says.
“These are the most important steps for us to achieve our target of fuel consumption averaging 22 litres per 100 kilometres."