Temuka driver takes out national driving efficiency competition

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 14, 2017

Johnny Baxter of Temuka Transport has beaten 16 competitors from across New Zealand in Volvo Trucks‘ biennial Drivers‘ Fuel Challenge held at Manfeild Park in Feilding. He will travel to Sweden in September to compete in the international division final of the global competition.

The competition aims find the most fuel-efficient Volvo drivers in the world, and foster a culture of efficient driving.

Contestants drove a FM-540 Volvo truck with I-Shift, and a trailer loaded to 50 tonnes, on a pre-defined route. The winner was determined by a combination of safe driving, low fuel consumption and completing the route within an allotted time.

“Fuel can account for up to third of a transport company‘s costs, so being efficient is crucial,” says Clive Jones, Volvo‘s national sales manager. “Volvo Trucks aims to offer vehicles that push the boundaries of fuel-efficiency, but we also realise that good driving practices need to go hand-in-hand with them. That‘s why we offer training support on efficient techniques, as well as providing our Dynafleet telematics system that further supports operators and drivers to burn even less fuel.”

In the national heat there was a difference in fuel efficiency of 480mL between first and last place. Across a fleet of 50 trucks, averaging 200,000km per year, Jones said that more than 1 million litres of fuel savings are achievable based on these results.

Fuel consumption was measured by the Dynafleet system, Volvo Trucks‘ fleet management platform. It captures information on truck performance and driving behaviour and shows key data to drivers through their in-cab screens or smartphones.

“Reduced fuel consumption has huge benefits aside from the obvious fuel cost savings – it also reduces wear and tear on the driver and truck,” says Jones. “This lowers maintenance and repair costs and reduces driver stress and mistakes. It also means that we are less reliant on fossil fuels and are lowering harmful emissions – so it‘s good for drivers, truck owners and the environment.”

The 2016 Volvo Fuel Challenge involved more than 13,000 drivers from 28 countries.