For any fleet manager, putting a dent in the company fuel bill is an absolute priority as oil prices keep inching upwards and the Rand trends downwards.
Truckmakers are constantly refining product to help ease this burden and Volvo Trucks Southern Africa recently launched new fuel saving software and upgraded D13 diesel engines.
The launch of upgraded D13 diesel engines for the local market, which includes Euro 3, Euro 4 and Euro 5 specifications, together with the new software, will enable fleetowners to reach fuel savings of up to 3%.
”As society changes and develops, our customers are requiring enhanced fuel efficiency for their fleets. With this new technology and engine hardware, we are assisting fleetowners to achieve better results, and thus saving money and ultimately increasing their profits,” says Marcus Hörberg, Vice President of Volvo Group Southern Africa.
The new function will be introduced on locally-produced Volvo trucks from January 2020 and is called Volvo Torque Assist. It is intended to reduce fuel consumption by providing more efficient driving when the cruise control is disabled in long haul operations.
These new functions will help drivers save fuel even when cruise control is not activated. I-Cruise, Volvo Trucks’ intelligent cruise control, is still the best way to optimise fuel consumption, but sometimes it might not be applicable.
“In this way we can support the driver to cut fuel costs when driving conditions demand it,” says Hörberg.
Volvo Torque Assist is designed to give more fuel-efficient driving by automatically adapting the truck’s torque and acceleration to the road topography, the load and speed changes. Another supporting function keeps the amount of injected fuel constant after the engine’s ‘green range’ has been passed. The slightly compromised performance is compensated by improved fuel economy.
The pedal map has also been recalibrated. A less sensitive pedal creates a smoother torque development, which, in turn, makes the truck easier to control.
“The new software also gives a more significant result with heavy loads, many slope changes or large speed variations, while drivers transporting lighter loads with constant speed on flat roads will save less fuel,” he says.
The hardware upgrades in the Euro 6 Step D versions of the D13 engine, released earlier in 2019 for European markets are also being used to raise the standards of the Euro 3 to 5 engines. Internal friction has been reduced with new cylinder liners and new V-shaped oil scraper rings. The turbo efficiency has been improved and the engine management system is upgraded to a newer version with better capacity.
Commenting on Volvo Trucks’ performance so far this year, Hörberg said: “Taking into consideration the sales statistics up to the end of August 2019, Volvo Trucks has managed to claim the biggest share in the Heavy Duty segment of the South African new truck market for the first time ever, with a 22% market share.
“We are very proud of this achievement and will continue to work hard to bring our customers only the best products, support and service,” said Hörberg. “As a result, we have ramped up our capacity at our Durban plant to meet the increased demand for our trucks.”