Recently I was able to test this out and it was not something I care to repeat soon. The truck is normally drove very conservable and over the years we have made it a habit to always drive as if there is an egg between our foot and the throttle. Around the first part of July we added a PedalCoach from LinkeDrive in our truck and this has been an interesting experience. The PedalCoach is run off of an Android phone that can be provided by LinkeDrive, or can run on top of any driver’s Android device, and is easy to read.
Here is an explanation of from the web site of how the system operates:
PedalCoach® is an in-cab application that helps all drivers do better when it comes to fuel economy. The key to this is our unique patented (U.S. Patent No. 9,135,759) method of establishing the right fuel target that dynamically adapts to the road, load and driver. PedalCoach is constantly calculating the optimal fuel rate during every trip, giving the driver a moving mpg target that doesn’t penalize him or her for a heavy load or an old truck. LinkeDrive Web Site http://linkedrive.com/
The reality of the PedalCoach is that it is easy to see and is a constant reminder to go easy on the throttle at all times. It is easy to not think when leaving a traffic light, when passing, or many times when not needed and we press the throttle to the floor to get quickly up to speed. The small phone sits quietly over to the right (we turned off the audible queues, that we know some drivers do love to use) on the dash and is always in the corner of our eye as it watches over our driving habits. We can see as we climb a hill as the lights turn to red and then quickly level back out as we climb without having our foot pressed to the floor.
I wonder what it would be like if all new drivers started with something like the PedalCoach as a reminder they are not in a car racing from one traffic light to the next, or racing through truck stops. When a company could see quickly and easily how a new driver is doing on fuel a monitory reward system could be put in place as the new driver quickly learns to drive for fuel mileage the company will have a valuable asset for the long run.
For us the eye opener came many years ago when we became owner operators or what speed does to fuel mileage and what poor fuel mileage was doing to our profits. Usually you can find us in the right lane going a steady speed and being passed. With our normal speed of 58 – 60 we can usually stay at a very steady speed all day without having to slow down or speed up to pass or to duck in behind someone. Our progress is like the turtle; slow and steady.
There are many reasons to track fuel and one is if the fuel mileage starts to fall off for no reason could it be that something is going wrong with the truck? Our fuel mileage is one of the gauges that we use to keep track of our trucks health. The PedalCoach is another way of fine tuning our driving to not only improve our fuel mileage but to save on wear and tear on our Cascadia.
First time in thirteen years of driving we needed to beat the clock to get Bob a rolling restart and get us in position for our next load. The posted speed limit from the start of my day till I stopped at 18:33 was top speed off 70 MPH and through a couple of construction zones down to 55 MPH and I drove the posted speed.
With the PedalCoach I noticed the gauge was in the top yellow to the red for most of the day and every once in a while, when I was in open territory the gauge would go back to yellow green but that would not last long. Over and over as the day progressed I found myself stepping out into the left lane to pass a slower moving vehicle and then I would find myself trapped when I could not get out into the left lane. By the end of the day the PedalCoach had knocked me down for a 91% efficiency to an 87% and that was tough to see. I can only imagine that if we drove this way all of the time of how hard it would be to get a restful sleep.
This “fast” day was something I hope to not repeat for a long time as I enjoy staying in the right lane and letting the people in a hurry go on by and I find it amazing how many times I am passed in a day by the same speeders. Staying in the right lane and driving smoothly sure helps in a team operation to let our partner enjoy a good night’s sleep.
The PedalCoach is a constant reminder to mind our P’s and Q’s when driving the truck and over the years we have fine-tuned our driving and the PedalCoach has proven this. For a driver that is still learning to drive or is trying to get out of bad habits the “Coach” would be invaluable to fuel mileage, wear and tear on the truck, and stress on the driver. Having this device in the truck has reinforced our belief in driving for maximum fuel mileage when we can and that if we need to we can step up our speed and still drive with a steady foot and get good fuel mileage.
We start with our aerodynamic Freightliner Cascadia and now we need to do everything right to form an awesome partnership to get the best fuel mileage/experience we can.
Visit the LinkeDrive web site to learn more about the PedalCoach