Volvo's Fuelwatch maximizes fuel economy
Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Volvo Trucks North America's Fuelwatch initiative is designed to help fleet managers and truck operators achieve maximum fuel economy through a comprehensive approach encompassing vehicle spec'ing and maintenance, performance monitoring, and driver behavior. The program is being rolled out in the US and Canada, with a version for Mexico to come later.
A major element of Fuelwatch is driver training. Beginning early next year, trainers will be in each of Volvo's five sales regions to teach fleet managers and their drivers how to increase fuel economy. There is a fee for the training.
“Our customers are telling us: ‘I want Volvo to give me the most fuel efficient truck possible,’” said Volvo senior vice president-sales and marketing Scott Kress. “But we realized we can give them far more than the truck.
“Fuelwatch is our way to bring Volvo's deep knowledge of fuel economy to customers in a way that delivers these benefits throughout the entire life and operation of their trucks. Using less fuel is good for customers, and it's also good for the environment.
“Customers who fully utilize the Fuelwatch tools and techniques can significantly lower their operating costs by addressing the critical areas that affect fuel economy,” Kress went on.
“Even the best-spec'd and maintained truck can deliver poor fuel economy if the driver lacks the knowledge and training to use it efficiently. The driver has the biggest impact — good or bad — on fuel economy.”
The Fuelwatch initiative has four major elements:
- Correct specifications
Customers work with Volvo Truck dealers and Volvo's Predictor software tool to select components precisely matched to the intended vehicle application and operation, and to get the most fuel-efficient specs for the job. The goal is to ensure the right combination of all drivetrain components to ensure optimal fuel economy, performance, and productivity.
- Maintaining for fuel savings
Because without proper maintenance, wear and tear on a truck over time drags down fuel economy and raises costs, Fuelwatch helps Volvo customers keep up with scheduled preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is critical to good fuel economy, as well as vehicle performance and durability.
- Monitoring performance
Volvo Link and Sentry are part of an onboard system that continuously monitors critical functions of a truck, enabling fleet managers to identify and make adjustments to enhance fuel economy. Volvo Link also provides access to services for optimizing operations, such as fuel tax reporting, vehicle location tracking, and route planning. Uptime support is provided through Sentry's access to Volvo Action Service, a 24/7 roadside assistance program.
- Driver development
As an integrated manufacturer of powertrains and trucks, Volvo is able to provide sophisticated assistance to drivers in a straightforward way. By way of example, Volvo's Performance Guide is a ride-along “coach” that tells the driver how to operate the engine for maximum fuel economy. This can be combined with Volvo's Performance Bonus to provide the driver with incentives for maximizing time in the “sweet spot” - the RPM range in which a diesel operates most efficiently.
“Fuelwatch is not a switch that fleets can throw, or a part they can bolt on a truck,” said Kress. “This is a partnership between Volvo, our customers, and our dealers, involving a comprehensive approach to improving fuel economy tailored to the individual customer.”
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