Mumbai: The increase in the price of all fuels and diesel in particular have sent bus operators' running costs skyrocketing over the last few months.
It is now essential that they make full use of all the possibilities for reducing fuel consumption in order to remain competitive in the face of drastically increased fuel costs. Daimler AG claims that its eco-training programmes helps in the reduction of fuel consumption by eight to 15 per cent by adopting an anticipative driving style.
On the basis of a touring coach covering 100,000 km per year, this represents almost 5000 litres. And with a fleet of ten buses, this amounts to an annual saving of some 50,000 to 60,000 euros.
The eco-training programmes which form part of the Daimler Omniplus range of services as well as the practical experiences of various fleets confirm that savings such as these can be achieved.
Economical driving techniques reduce variable costs associated with fuel, repairs, maintenance and tyres. "Engine speed down, engine load up" is the motto: in principle, an engine running at low revs in a high gear uses less fuel than it does at high revs in a lower gear, even though the accelerator has to be depressed to a greater extent to deliver extra power when running in high gear.
The eco training sessions also provide useful tips about tyre pressure.
A 10-per cent shortfall in tyre pressure increases fuel consumption by up to two per cent while a twenty per cent shortfall sees this figure rise to as much as four per cent. With around 30 per cent of all vehicles running on underinflated tyres, the scope for fuel savings in this area alone is considerable. Furthermore, 95 per cent of all tyre blowouts are primarily due to faulty tyre pressures.
Vehicle technology and equipment also exert a major influence on fuel consumption. The choice of the correct powertrain is a case in point. For example, BlueTec diesel technology, which has been introduced extremely successfully in Europe, cuts fuel costs by up to six percent compared with the earlier in-engine measures to reduce exhaust emissions. The rising price of fuel means that this technology makes excellent financial sense for all fleet operators.
Savings of between two and ten per cent can be achieved with a correctly configured vehicle. Fuel savings of up to 4 per cent on typical routes have been achieved by Setra TopClass 400 touring coach models equipped with the new automated eight-speed PowerShift transmission. And the Mercedes-Benz Citaro urban regular-service bus is even more economical thanks to its new gearshift program.
Mercedes-Benz uses the new "Topodyn" gearshift program as standard in conjunction with the ZF Ecomat automatic transmission. The control electronics automatically select the ideal shift program for the topography of the route. In-service field testing of this system has shown that fuel consumption can be cut by between two and ten per cent. As an added benefit, the average engine speed is reduced and with it the noise emissions.
All these measures help fleet operators reduce their costs. As fuel accounts for about 30 per cent of the overall costs of a fleet, every opportunity to cut fuel consumption must be taken. This also benefits the environment as CO2 emissions – which are another major issue at the moment – are directly dependent on the level of fuel consumption. Saving 5000 litres of fuel reduces CO2 production by 13 tonnes.
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