Step 9: Identify energy saving opportunities
Vehicles operate under widely varying conditions with different drivers and duties; you must go out with drivers to observe measure and understand the differences between them.
During your survey some factors will be common across all vehicles and drivers; these will be the opportunities for change in the first instance. The least cost options will be behaviour related, we list below the areas to be considered.
- Parking: Is vehicle parked ready for loading, is the refrigeration unit plugged in?
- Reverse parked: generally reverse parking i.e. parked facing toward the direction of travel, is safer and reduces manoeuvring with a cold engine and tires.
You may already do dedicated safety training with your drivers in the normal course of business; this is a fuel usage checklist:
- Planning ahead; is route planned to avoid congestion, excess manoeuvring and unsuitable roads.
- Speed limit compliance; is vehicle driven under its legal speed limit. Slower means less fuel used.
- Starting & moving away; is accelerator used gently and speed built-up smoothly with appropriate gear selection
- Engine Braking is it used where applicable.
- Optimum Torque Usage; is driver aware of optimum revs.
- Cruise Control usage; is it used wherever possible at appropriate speeds.
- Rating; you can create your own rating system, for drivers, bear in mind that overall fuel usage is an objective measure for similar vehicles for when no-one is watching in the cab.
Using pen & paper is adequate; a stopwatch is useful for collecting idling times.
- Odometer (start & finish)
- Litres filled, if any during trip
- Idling time, per stop and as a total for trip.
- Load weights, jobs completed for the trip being surveyed.
- Energy Efficiency for this trip
Sample vehicle survey checklist
No two fleets are the same, so develop your own checklist to suit your business. The following example may be helpful as an initial guide:
|Gross vehicle weight||7500kg||Confirms vehicle size and class|
|Engine idling rev’s||720||Record idling rev’s once the engine is warm.|
|Peak Torque (revs)||900||Is driver aware of peak torque points, for maximum pulling power|
|Emissions CO2 g/Km|| ||Emissions rating where available|
|Fuel type||Diesel||Confirm type(s) of fuel being used|
|Automatic gearbox||Y / N||Automatic or manual gearbox|
|Cruise control||Y / N||Keeps vehicle at constant speed.|
|ABS / EBA||Y / N||Anti-skid, Electronic brake assist.|
|Serviced||Y / N||Serviced on time, records up to date|
|Tires pressures|| ||TIP: 10% under-inflation can reduce fuel economy by 3%|
|Correct||110 PSI||What is vehicle manufacturers’ recommended tire pressure|
|Front||95 PSI||Record actual using a tire pressure gauge or obtain from tire supplier|
|Rear||110PSI||Make sure you record and check correct pressures for each axle|
|Loading|| || |
|Outbound||75%||How full was truck leaving premises?|
|Inbound||25%||Delivery vehicles often return to base empty, are there ‘backhaul’ opportunities?|
|Unnecessary||0||Unused pallet truck, compressors, ladders etc., kept on board just in case.|
|Loading by volume|| ||Is truck/trailer high enough or too high (large gap between load and roof)|
|Aerodynamics|| || |
|Roof rack||Y / N|| Is there a roof rack, why is it there. Could you do without?|
|Open load area||Y / N||If there is a cover is it being used|
|Protuberances||Y / N||Look for un-repaired damage, unnecessary light bars and bull bars|
|Tractor Units|| || |
|Roof-mounted air deflector||Y / N||Deflects air up and over trailer units|
|Side collars at rear of cab||Y / N||Smoothes airflow across gap between tractor and trailer|
|Under-bumper air-dam||Y / N||Smoothes and deflect airflow from under vehicle|