13.08.14 10:48 Age: 3 yrs

Drivers make the difference – Massive fuel savings for tractors

According to the Austrian agricultural bulletin “Bauernzeitung”, drivers are the key factor to successfully implementing eco-friendly driving methods and saving substantial amounts of fuel.

An illustration printed in the „Bauernzeitung“ shows the driving style and corresponding fuel consumption of three different drivers while operating a 99 kW tractor with a manual transmission. All drivers completed the same journey with the tractor and its loaded trailer. Driver 5 managed to use the least amount of fuel (37.5 liters per 100 km) by applying a speed of 28.4 km/h. The highest fuel consumption was caused by driver 7 (45.2 l/100 km) while driving at a speed of 34.8 km/h. In contrast, driver 2 operated his tractor at a speed of 38 km/h and only used 39.5 l/100 km. These findings thus show how driver 2 was much faster than driver 7, while even saving almost 6 liters of fuel. These excellent values are not coincidental, because driver 7 was directly applying eco-driving methods! He quickly shifted into a higher gear when accelerating; he only shifted into a lower gear on downhill gradients rather late and he avoided unnecessary breaking or accelerating when passing through towns, by constantly looking ahead and pro-actively monitoring traffic further down the road. Once his vehicle had attained the desired cruising speed or was on downhill slopes, he simply let the vehicle roll and took the foot off of the accelerator. These methods of letting the vehicle roll in fluid motion and exercising a high degree of situational awareness and forward thinking are the key factors to successfully implementing eco-driving techniques.

Additional measurements and experiments showed that applying these very same eco-driving principles even allowed fuel savings of up to 10% on tractors that were fitted with less fuel-efficient automatic transmissions. Once again taking the foot off of the accelerator, letting the vehicle roll and avoiding unnecessary breaking helped save the most fuel.

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