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Cut carbon emissions and improve your green credentials with our guide to making your fleet of trucks and trailers more ecological.

The main aim of every fleet manager is to deliver the requested goods on time, in the best possible quality and at the right price. Low margins and the complexities of transport management mean doing so in an efficient manner is essential to succeed. Plus, the growing environmental considerations means drivers, trucks and trailers need to be as ecologically sound as possible.

As a fleet manager, there are several things you can do to create a more ecological fleet. From driver training to advance their skills to using intelligent tools including FMS software and big data analytics, you can reduce your carbon footprint to help the environment and create a leaner, greener and safer fleet.

Make your vehicles more aerodynamic, offer driver training and install intelligent software to make your fleet more ecological.

The importance of an ecological fleet

Fleet fuel efficiency is a vital consideration for businesses of any size. Fuel is one of your largest expenses and paying for excess volumes that could have been avoided by improving driving habits, trucks and trailers can cost your company a lot of money in the long run. It can also increase your carbon footprint and lead to fuel wastage.

Fast acceleration, sudden braking and idling can all have a negative impact on fuel economy. A refuel policy is vital too, as unnecessary full tanks create dead weight. This should include optimum routing, to reduce fuel usage, costs and your fleet’s environmental impact.

One study showed that inefficient drivers spend 67% more on fuel compared with drivers who follow best practice guidelines.[1] Apply this across your fleet and you will see that this not only costs a lot of money, but it could also be more damaging to the environment.

With many governments setting targets to reduce CO² emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, making your fleet as ecological as possible sooner rather than later could be essential should further measures be introduced. It can help ensure your vehicles and drivers are prepared if green targets specific to the transport or logistics industry are brought in.

There are numerous measures you can take to achieve this.

Aerodynamics and fuel efficiency

Before the driver even gets in the cab, you can make your fleet more fuel-efficient by improving vehicle aerodynamics. Both trucks and trailers can reduce their air drag by retrofitting the right parts and components, helping both your fuel costs and carbon emissions to start falling immediately.

The OptiFlow™ Tail, for example, is easy to retrofit to a trailer and can help reduce your emissions by 2.8 tons per trailer per year and 1.1 litres of fuel per 100 km travelled at highway speeds – resulting in a significant decrease in how much fuel you use too. Applied across your entire fleet, this can have a huge impact. With fuel prices fluctuating wildly, you can insure your business against an increase with improved trailer aerodynamics.

Software such as TX-FUELCOMPASS , uses data to present a complete overview of your fleet’s fuel costs to make recommendations for improvements. Next to this, TX-FUELCOMPASS also addresses fuel prices and policies. It draws in Big Data to provide context, such as a truck’s itinerary, remaining fuel level and other stations on route, to show how fuel efficiency can be improved.

Ecological fleet management

Ensuring your trucks and trailers are operating at their peak condition increases their efficiency, which in turn reduces fuel wastage. There are several areas to focus on in this regard, such as checking the brakes regularly on all vehicles.

You can also cut fuel wastage by monitoring tyre pressure, with systems such as the OptiTire™. These next-generation sensors can be easily fitted to all wheel rim sizes, connecting to telematics devices to notify you when pressures are dropping and tyres need refilling with air.

Truck selection

Choosing the right truck for the job is an overlooked element of ecological fleet management, but it’s an essential factor. If you have a variety of different-sized trucks in your fleet, you need to make sure you assign each one to the most appropriate job. Empty and low loads lead to inefficient fuel usage.

For instance, it’s a waste of fuel to send out one of your largest vehicles half-empty to fulfil a job that could be done by a much smaller one.

Training drivers to be more efficient

When it comes to your drivers, it’s your responsibility to ensure they are up-to-speed with the latest eco-driving techniques. Driver training courses offer a great way to help improve their performance on the road. The WABCO TopDriver training helps drivers to optimise the everyday driving by conveying the right knowledge and skills such as:

  • Anticipatory and economical driving
  • Influence of engine, aerodynamics, gear shifting as well as tyres and chassis
  • How driving style influences fuel consumption
  • Maintenance and care of commercial vehicles

Along with the data gathered through TX-ECO, you can focus your training on areas of need and take another step in reducing fuel consumptions for your entire fleet.

On-board technology

Integrated into the TX-CONNECT back office software, you can easily chart your fleet’s performance on various ecological driving parameters. On an individual basis, you can identify good and bad drivers based on these and encourage improvement by following up with eco-driving training to work on specific areas. This can also help make drivers realise the impact they have on the fleet’s environmental impact.

It has never been easier to utilise the latest digital technology to improve fuel economy and eco-driving. Easy to use and install, these intelligent solutions make use of data to give you up-to-date information on how your trucks and drivers are performing.

With an enhanced telematics device such as TX-SKY, you can monitor traffic problems and find the optimal routes for your drivers in real time.

TX-ECO is a brilliant way to monitor driver performance and promote ecological driving. It objectively evaluates driver performance based on a number of economical and ecological driving factors. Information is captured by the on-board computers and the truck’s CAN bus data to do this.