Why is optimising truck specifications important to you?
"Fuel economy is the starting point and addressing that comes first and foremost for us when deciding on a truck specification. For example, since 2004, we have moved to I-Shift on all our Volvo's which has helped fuel economy. The profile of our operation is long
distance and high mileage with a lot of motorway work. Three or hour years ago, we agreed an optimal diff ratio and reviewed that when we were ordering our Euro 5 compliant trucks. It is now 2.78:1 with 70 series tyres. On a like for like basis, we saw about a 4% improvement in fuel when we standardised on the higher drive axle ratio."
How do you choose the optimum truck specification for your operation?
"We work very closely with our Volvo Dealer. Engine power output
is important; we are currently using 480 hp at Euro 5. Although the 460 was perfect, we have to consider the positive impact on residual values which the 480 will have. We lower the frontal area of the whole outfit by specifying low-profile tyres and a fixed position fifth wheel at a fixed height of under 1200 mm. Using Dynafleet allows us to monitor driver and vehicle performance and pinpoint exceptions. We have even sent tyres to the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Hertford to check their rolling resistance. That's a measure of how seriously we take fuel economy and how important we believe it is to make sure that we have the right specification for our trucks. As a result of their findings, we now specify Michelin energy tyres."