Auto specialist Millbrooks engineering team develops techniques and aids to train drivers save fuel
Drivers and fleet managers wanting to reduce running costs by downsizing their cars or investing in expensive fuel-saving powertrain options could achieve bigger benefits with driver training, a new survey has revealed. Conducted by independent specialist Millbrook at the recent GreenFleet Fuel Challenge, the scientifically controlled test programme revealed differences of as much as three-to-one in the fuel consumption achieved by drivers of similar vehicles.
Each vehicle undertook 10 laps of the Silverstone circuit, making two stops to simulate a mix of highway and suburban driving conditions. There was also an ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers Schools) instructor to ensure compliance with rules and to provide tips on driving technique. A maximum of one hour was allowed to complete 32 miles with the maximum speed set at 70mph. After the final lap, vehicles returned to the Millbrook pit garage for final measurements and economy calculations.
The results showed that vehicle technology is not the only influence on fuel economy and emissions, said Andrew Eastlake, head of laboratories at Millbrook and manager of the test programme. Technology and choice of fuel are important, but these tests have shown that saving money by reducing fuel consumption depends also on the driver.
Millbrooks highly-regarded engineering team has worked with governments, oil companies and others to help improve fuel consumption and emissions. Using their range of tracks and laboratories, they can simulate any driving condition accurately, allowing clients to evaluate vehicle fuel economy and the impact of changes such as new fuels and lubricants. These techniques can also be applied to the evaluation of software aids in driver guidance and route planning and to driver training programmes.