3 Ways Engine Calibration Elevates Fleet Productivity
Generally, you measure your fleet productivity by comparing the number of miles your fleet vehicle travels to the total costs on your fleet budget. One line item that usually stands out the largest is fuel costs. So elevating your fleet productivity often comes down to reducing how much fuel you need to buy without reducing how many miles your fleet vehicles drive. The simplest way to reduce your fleet fuel consumption and boost fleet productivity is through engine calibration.
What Is Engine Calibration?
Engine calibration is the process of tuning and adjusting a vehicle's computer which tells the engine how to run. The vehicle's computer has certain settings for how high the engine's RPMs are when idling, when the vehicle switches gears while driving, when to shift into a higher or lower gear, and even what the top speed of the vehicle is. Calibrating the engine computer allows the fleet manager to set certain limits for each of these parameters so you can maximize the driving and idling efficiency of your fleet vehicles. With engine calibration, you can refine vehicle driving specifications to tailor its performance to your fleet's specific needs.
The effectiveness of engine calibration solutions makes them the single most efficient step fleet managers can take to improve the performance of their fleet. Derive VQ is a fleet management solution that calibrates your fleet vehicles’ engines with a combination of these three features:
1. Idle Reduction Management
Vehicle idling may not seem like a big deal at first. For much smaller fleets with just a handful of vehicles, it might not be. But fleets on a larger scale with hundreds of vehicles, idling becomes a serious issue. It wastes fuel, generates more greenhouse gas emissions, and shortens the life of your fleet vehicles. A fleet vehicle may be rated for 20 MPG while driving, but every vehicle, no matter how efficient it is while driving, gets zero miles per gallon while idling. In fact, an idling vehicle can waste as much as a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the size of the engine.
You may be tempted to reduce the amount of time drivers spend idling their engines by coaching them to turn their vehicles off while they’re parked. But a much more consistent and effective way to reduce the amount of fuel wasted by idling is to implement idle reduction management. This significantly reduces costs associated with wasted fuel by relying on the vehicle to manage idling rather than the driver.
Derive VQ's idle reduction calibrates your fleet vehicle's engine to idle at a slower engine speed without having an impact on its ventilation or heating performance. This results in less fuel burned per hour of idling time. That means you spend less money on fuel costs. In fact, Derive VQ's idle reduction can lower your vehicle’s idle levels by up to 30 percent.
2. Eco Adjustment
When you hear the phrase "eco adjustment," you might think it means ecology and refers to a calibration that reduces greenhouse emissions and improves fleet sustainability. While Derive VQ's eco adjustment definitely accomplishes that, eco adjustment also means economy. Derive VQ’s eco adjustment feature calibrates the fleet vehicle’s shifting points to switch into higher gears earlier while the vehicle is accelerating, and switch into lower gears later while the vehicle is slowing down. This simple calibration results in the engine running at lower RPMs in higher gears while driving. With the engine running at lower RPMs, less fuel is wasted.
Adjusting the parameters of a vehicle’s engine to minimize fuel waste during vehicle acceleration reduces redline shifting and engine wear-and-tear. Drivers will experience a smoother driving experience, and fleet managers will no longer have to modify drivers’ acceleration throttle response control.
3. Speed Governor
It shouldn't be surprising that driving at higher speeds can affect the fuel economy of the vehicle. Faster speeds mean the vehicle is meeting more air resistance, forcing the engine to work harder to maintain speed. The faster the vehicle drives, the higher the RPM the engine runs at. This translates into more fuel burned per mile traveled and more wear-and-tear on the vehicle.
This means the faster the vehicle drives, the more fuel it burns, and the higher your total fuel costs are. While a fleet manager can attempt to curb speeding habits among fleet drivers with regular coaching, it can be difficult to measure the success of driver-oriented speed management. A more effective approach is to install a speed governor on your fleet vehicles.
Derive VQ's speed governor feature calibrates the vehicle's engine and restricts the vehicle's maximum speed to the limit mandated by a fleet’s policy. By relying on the vehicle to manage speed, drivers are not put in a position where their driving habits can affect their safety and other passengers on the road or the vehicle’s efficiency.
Real Examples of Cost Savings Using Derive VQ
We can talk all day about how Derive VQ improves vehicle efficiency, elevates fleet performance, and cuts fleet fuel costs. But it's all just talk until you see results. Here are the results of three companies that calibrated their fleet vehicles using Derive VQ.
Comcast Reduced Fuel Costs by $75 Million in 4.5 Years
With the 5th largest fleet in the nation, Comcast needed to make their thousands of daily service calls more fuel-efficient. The company installed the Derive VQ platform including idle reduction, eco adjustment, and speed governor on each vehicle in their fleet. Four and a half years later, Comcast has saved over $75 million in fuel costs.
Loenbro's Calibration Test Resulted in 7%-8% Fuel Savings
Loenbro, a construction and oilfield/energy services corporation, was trying to reduce operating costs and deliver safe operations. The company ran an experiment with Derive VQ by calibrating a vehicle with a V6 engine and one with a V8 engine. In two months, here were the results:
- 7% fuel savings in the vehicle with the V6 engine.
- 8% fuel savings in the vehicle with the V8 engine.
Florida Police Department Saved $140,000 Annually
The Port St. Lucie’s Police Department vehicles experienced a significantly higher-than-average idle percentage during each 12-hour shift. Vehicles were installed with Derive VQ to adjust idle RPM and shift points to reduce each vehicle’s idling from 76% to 64%.
How much could you save with Derive VQ? Use our free Savings Calculator to find out.
With a simple, 30-minute installation per vehicle, Derive VQ can calibrate your fleet vehicles for better fuel efficiency and optimized fleet performance. If you're ready to transform your fleet and elevate your fleet productivity, get in touch with our experts today.