Retrofit software solution cuts RCV fuel consumption by 8.85%

A trial of fuel-saving software retrofitted to two Mercedes-Benz Econic refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) has brought fuel savings of 8.85% over a six-month period where 21,000km were covered.

The Econics, which are operated by Fife Council in Scotland, were retrofitted with Allison Transmission’s FuelSense 2.0 software.

Allison’s FuelSense 2.0 software features DynActive Shifting. At the heart of this technology is an intelligent algorithm that continually assesses driving conditions – taking into account factors such as vehicle weight, road gradient, the frequency of stop-starts and throttle use – to initiate subtle but significant alterations in gear shift points.

As a result of these fuel economy improvements, Fife Council has decided to retrofit another 11 RCVs with the software, in addition to ordering another 11 RCVs for delivery by January next year. These 24 vehicles are expected to cut the council’s expenditure on diesel by about £42,000 per year, and its CO2 emissions by almost 124 tonnes.

The two vehicles in the trial, undertaken from the council’s Bankhead Central ‘super depot’ in Glenrothes, were 26-tonne, 6×2 Mercedes-Benz Econics equipped with Allison’s 3000 SeriesTM 6-speed fully automatic transmission. Both vehicles are 2017 models and drive about 20,000 kms per year. Detailed data about their previous fuel consumption and shift patterns enabled accurate comparisons to be made after FuelSense 2.0 was fitted. One Econic covered 10,000 kms during the trial period, the other just over 11,250 kms.

Both vehicles in the trial worked double shifts, starting at 6am and finishing at 9pm, Monday thru Friday. The vehicles collected four different types of waste, spending two consecutive weeks on each type during an eight-week cycle: paper, landfill, food and garden waste and plastic. Both vehicles collected and carried more waste during the six-month trial than during the comparative period. The smallest fuel consumption improvement shown during a calendar month was 2.38%, the largest 19.50%, with the combined average over six months calculated as 8.85%. 

Sandy Anderson, service manager, Waste Operations at Fife Council, said that the strong data, proven on local roads, showed how savings can be delivered. “A lot of fuel saving claims are made from different corners of the industry and we are happy to stand behind this significant 8.85% fuel economy improvement figure on switching to FuelSense 2.0 software,” he said. “Our calculations show that the cost of the upgrade is paid back in fuel savings within 14.5 weeks.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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