Volvo Trucks Global
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Tatu meets fuel champion

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The driver can do many things to reduce fuel consumption. The international winner of Volvo Trucks Driver Challenge 2018, Piotr Krahel, is a living proof of that. I met him to discuss how you become a champion driver when it comes to fuel efficiency.

Hello Piotr, what made you interested in fuel-efficient driving? 

In 2012, I worked in a transport company that serves Netto supermarkets. In the weekdays I worked as a dispatcher, planning the trips for the drivers and on weekends, when there was a bigger need for drivers, I drove a truck myself. Seeing both sides of the operation, I got very aware of the impact of fuel-efficient driving. 

What made you improve as a driver? 

I got some coaching from master drivers in Poland. Then I got really motivated to get better. My boss asked me to coach the other drivers in the company, and we saw some really good improvements. Giving the drivers a bonus for fuel-efficient driving also helped to implement those technics and that mindset. We ended up lowering our fuel consumption by 25-30 per cent!

Any specific training tips for other drivers?

When preparing for the 2018 competition, I practised in a systematic way. Since I drove the same route and with the same load every time, I could evaluate which was the best strategy. There are many hills on that route and a lot of traffic – a lot of challenges for fuel efficient driving in other words. 

Anticipation in combination with a fast reactiongenerally gives the best results. Roadways are like books. Try to learn read them.

And I use the information from Dynafleet and tools such as I-See to get better. 

What was your strategy for the competition in Göteborg?

The course is quite different compared to a normal day’s work – it was a very short distance so I realised I couldn’t fix my mistakes as on a long distance. I knew I had to really build up speed before going up the first hill, and then there was a 180 degree turn where I also had to build up speed to reach the u-turn without pressing accelerator while turning, to avoid trailer tyres friction. There were also a lot of challenges that called for quick decisions, but luckily, I lost all nervousness once I got on the course.

How much of the fuel-efficiency do you think depends on the driver and how much on the truck and its tools?

The modern trucks provide a lot of very helpful tools, such as Dynafleet, I-See and I-Shift. But in the end, it’s the driver who has the brain and who makes all the decisions. By improving your skills and having the right mindset, you can do a great difference. 

Do you want to learn more?

Feel free to download my guide with eight top advice from Piotr Krahel. I hope you find it useful.


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