When oil prices hit the highs of today’s market, fleets big and small feel the strain when routing, and delivery decisions could affect the livelihoods of employees.
The benefits of running the most fuel-efficient operation possible can’t be understated in a world where diesel fuel prices have approached $6 a gallon. NACFE’s 2019 Fuel Studies report shows that if fuel costs $3.89/gallon, a fleet that can increase its trucks’ MPG by only 0.9 can save $7,941 per year, per truck.
There are still efficiencies to be gained if you know where to look. Here are three ways you can eke out more mileage from your trucks’ diesel tanks.
Aerodynamic devices can significantly reduce a truck’s drag area with a few relatively simple installations. Trailer side skirts that hang from both sides of the trailer are a good place to start.
“There is no federal mandate now, so fleets have the freedom to pick and choose the most appropriate aero devices beneficial to their own operations,” says Great Dane Vice President of Engineering, Chris Lee. “The side skirt is one of the most popular devices used today. Depending on the configuration and application, the side skirts available in the market can provide 3-9% fuel savings.”
Take Advantage of Telematics
Fleets running well-maintained equipment will see the best fuel-efficiency gains on the road, so having a telematics device like FleetPulse on your side is invaluable. According to the American Trucking Associations™ Technology & Maintenance Council, running on a tire that’s under-inflated by as little as 10% can reduce fuel economy by 1.5%.
For example, FleetPulse can deliver fleet managers real-time data regarding trailer tire inflation and mileage from tire rotations. Not only does proper trailer tire inflation and wear affect fuel efficiency, but monitoring this data can provide deeper insight into a trailer’s tire health, effectively improving overall uptime and safety.
An Electrification Evolution
Fleets can take advantage of the benefits of electrification whether or not they choose to swap their traditional diesel tractors for electric trucks.
In partnership with ConMet eMobility, Great Dane trailers can be outfitted with ConMet eMobility’s PreSet Plus® eHub™ solution, an in-wheel electrification system. With its unique energy harvesting method, this technology transforms kinetic energy into usable power that can be delivered to auxiliary systems, such as an electric TRU, or charge the system’s battery. In this way, the eHub eliminates the need for a separate diesel engine inside the TRU without creating an additional strain on the tractor’s battery, reducing diesel fuel costs and direct emissions.
Another benefit of the eHub technology is its ability to generate power on the road, which means battery capacity can be optimized, limiting added weight and lightening the load on the main tractor’s engine or battery. ConMet’s eHub system will also be capable of sending energy back to its in-wheel motors, providing propulsion assistance from the trailer.
“This added propulsion can significantly improve the vehicle’s overall fuel economy or extend the tractor’s battery range,” says Marc Trahand, vice president and general manager of ConMet eMobility. “Future generations of the eHub system will be able to provide propulsion when it’s needed most, such as when going up a hill or entering a highway on-ramp. This is perhaps the most significant potential benefit for an electric tractor.”
Read more about how electrifying the trailer using technology like ConMet’s eHub system can potentially provide a host of benefits beyond simply saving on fuel costs.
FleetPulse Fuel Efficiencies Don’t Stop at Tires
The fuel efficiency benefits of having FleetPulse installed on a fleet’s trailers go far beyond tire monitoring. The telematics device can also monitor doors, axle weight and tether status, and provide GPS status.
“Door open and close status can prevent potential thermal efficiency losses through unintended opened door thus reducing TRU run time and saving fuel, and axle weight sensors provide opportunities to maximize trailer capacity utilization,” says Great Dane Vice President of Engineering, Chris Lee.
“Knowing tethered and untethered status provides opportunities to increase asset utilization by reducing the number of trips made by the truck, and GPS provides opportunities to increase asset utilization.”
Check out FleetPulse to learn more about the benefits of this smart trailer telematics system.