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.
Tatu has several years of experience as a truck driver and is currently working with driver development at Volvo Trucks. His job is to ensure the driver trainers at Volvo Trucks know how to drive a truck as safely and efficiently as possible. And in the end, enabling customers, who learn from the trainers, to make the most of their truck’s technology.
I have often been asked what my blue print of a truck driver would be like. It’s a tough question, as there are many …
There are many ways to motivate a driver to save fuel, but in my opinion there is one simple – yet essential – …
I’ve often heard truck drivers say that they need to cruise at 90 km/h to meet delivery times, or to get the most out …