Jan 2012: Michelin-Volvo Study Reiterates Impact of Tyre Conditions
Michelin recently teamed up with truck manufacturer Volvo and conducted a study to understand the impact of tyre related conditions on fuel consumption. Naturally factors influencing fuel consumption have a direct relationship with the carbon dioxide emissions and hence the environment friendliness.
Though it is known generally that factors like optimal tyre pressure and correct wheel alignment enhance the fuel economy, the study results have reiterated this even more strongly.
The study revealed that choosing the right tyre for trucks, ensuring the correct tyre pressure and perfect wheel alignment can reduce fuel consumption as much as 15%.
Such a significant reduction translates into a cost saving of almost GBP 6,650 per vehicle per year. These figures are sure to make fleet managers sit up and take notice.
The Test Details
The test was carried out in the form of a comparison study. A Volvo truck fitted with the right tyres and with the correct pressure and wheel alignment was compared with a vehicle under varying tyre pressure conditions and varied wheel alignment levels.
A total of 1000 kilometres were covered on track and in the workshop. The entire process was overseen by independent third party – the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.
Test conditions were maintained at realistic levels with no exaggerations because as Mr. Arne-Helge Andreassen of Vovlo aptly put it, “Real life is bad enough”. A comment that rings so true.
To ensure accurate readings of various parameters, the fuel gauges received supplementation by special instruments for measuring fuel consumption, rolling resistance, tyre wear and pressure.
The influence of conditions like wind, rain and temperature were suitably factored into the results by the test engineers.
The Result Details
Misalignment of wheels can make a difference of 2.5% in fuel consumption. Choosing the right tyres and ensuring correct tyre pressure contribute to an 11% and 1% reduction in fuel consumption.
Mr. Andreassen confirmed that these results hold true for construction vehicles as well as vehicles in the long haul sector.
Mr. Jacques de Giancomoni, Michelin Technical Account Manager, explained that wheels that are not properly aligned and under inflated tend to enhance the rolling resistance.
This means that more fuel is consumed to counter the increased rolling resistance. He also reemphasized the importance of choosing the right tyres for all vehicles.
The Importance of the Test Results
These test results are important because by taking simple precautions like choosing the right tyres and ensuring optimal tyre pressure and alignment, fleet owners can ensure considerable cost savings.
These precautions are also good for increasing the tyre life and durability.
But there is an additional parameter to consider – environmental responsibility. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2010, there was a greater than 5% increase in global carbon dioxide levels.
And commercial trucks contribute to 30-40% of total carbon dioxide emissions on road. The test reveals that by taking simple precautions, truck operators can reduce those levels.
And we couldn’t agree more with Mr. Andreassen when he says that it is the least we can do for our environment.