How to apply and maintain eco-driving within your transportation company
The heart of eco-driving lies in understanding the theories and practices that will help your drivers improve the way they drive so that your business can enjoy the many benefits of eco-driving. Although a portion of eco-driving can be learned through self-education, it is often recommended that you partner with an expert trainer or consultant to ensure quality training and the application of sustainable practices and programs. Since the driver is still the most important factor influencing a vehicle's energy performance, his training and education are undoubtedly the most important elements when it comes to adopting eco-driving within your company.
In Quebec, transportation companies can benefit from the government's Transportez Vert program, which aims to help businesses implement measures that reduce the fuel consumption of their vehicles. This program subsidizes up to $1,000 per standardized eco-driving training session and up to $20,000 for energy management programs for fleets of heavy-duty vehicle.
In order to measure and correct your drivers' driving based on eco-driving theories and practices, it is essential to have the equipment necessary to collect telematic data. However, it is important to note that any data capture equipment must also be accompanied by a data interpretation tool. This tool will analyze the performance of drivers, be used to follow up with drivers, demonstrate the application of the practices and behaviours taught and guide your decision-making.
In each vehicle, a support and feedback system (virtual coach) will be used to keep the driver informed of his performance in real time. A tablet with driving data, signals and alerts is an essential tool for implementing driver learning. Through this tool, the driver will be able to be made aware of the quality of his driving and correct any wrong behaviors immediately in order to ensure a better execution of his training in eco-driving.
In addition, reward or excellence programs are also an important consideration. Often, the real challenge for transportation companies is to maintain eco-driving behaviours over time. The benefits of these trainings are temporary if they are not accompanied by an effective feedback and reward program that encourages the long-term maintenance of training benefits.
For the management team, it is essential to allocate one or more resources to manage the eco-driving and training program. Increased monitoring of driver performance and the application of eco-driving concepts is needed to ensure the longevity of learning and savings. Too often, once the training programs are completed, managers tend to lose focus leading back to square one. It is essential to ensure constant and continuous interventions with drivers until the concepts and behaviours taught are transformed into automatisms.
The benefits of eco-driving are numerous and can have a significant impact on the profitability and efficiency of your operations. Understanding the potential effects of eco-driving is essential to maintain the motivation and enthusiasm needed to be successful.
Since 1999, several studies have shown that driver training can reduce average fuel consumption by 7% to 15% per vehicle depending on the operation. Eco-driving not only saves significant amounts of fuel for gas vehicles, but also provides significant benefits for electric vehicles by providing them with greater autonomy.
Fuel consumption is the most important source of spending for most transportation companies. It can account for up to 40% of the operating costs of freight or passenger companies. According to a 2016 study conducted by the Quebec City Office of Energy Efficiency and Innovation, training and monitoring driver behaviour can achieve an annual saving of 4,000 to 10,000 litres of diesel per vehicle depending on the size of the territory (local or long-distance transport).