Volvo Trucks announces most efficient driver

Drivers’ Fuel Challenge puts the world’s most efficient truck drivers to the test

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28 finalists from around the world recently competed for the title “World’s most fuel efficient driver” in Volvo Trucks Drivers’ Fuel Challenge 2016. This year saw South Africa’s very own Dharmendra Arejune participate against some of the best truck drivers globally. In this year’s challenge competitors were evaluated on both fuel savings and time, setting a high bar for the drivers’ skills as well as for the trucks. The winner was Tomáš Horčička from the Czech Republic.

On Friday 9 September, 28 truck drivers from all over the world gathered at Volvo Trucks’ test track in Gothenburg, Sweden to participate in the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge. The competition consists of driving a Volvo FH around the 6.9 km long track while using as little fuel as possible. This year’s set up also included a twist: participants that managed to complete the course with time to spare were given extra points.

Clinching a spot at the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge 2016 final was no small feat. The 28 competing drivers in the global final qualified through national and regional Drivers’ Fuel Challenge competitions held across the world, which involved over 12,000 drivers. Including South Africa’s very own Dharmendra Arejune, from Mersey Trading in KwaZulu Natal.

“This was a once in a lifetime opporunity for me, where I got to meet fellow Volvo Truck drivers from around the world,” said Dharmendra.

“This challenge is just one of the initiatives from Volvo Trucks which illustrates the importance of the truck driver in the operation of a truck and the vital role that they play in the overall businesses of transport opperators,”says Phillip Pasha, Driver Trainer Manager at Volvo Trucks Southern Africa.

“Meeting delivery deadlines is critical for today’s transport companies. By including time constraints, the skills to prove in the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge are even more practical and relevant to the driver’s day-to-day work. To win, the driver needs to drive in an exceptionally well-planned, forward-looking and fuel-efficient way,” says Ricard Fritz, Senior Vice President, Product and Vehicle Sales, Volvo Trucks.

To succeed the drivers needed to achieve a high average speed while keeping fuel consumption to a minimum, which was made possible thanks to a Volvo FH equipped with the recently enhanced Euro 6 powertrain not yet available in SA.

“Our updated powertrain enables the engine and gearbox to utilise their full combined potential to deliver even more efficient transportations,” says Mats Franzén, Product Manager Powertrain Components - Engines at Volvo Trucks.

Fuel accounts for around a third of a transport company’s costs. That is why Volvo Trucks works continuously to meet the customer’s growing needs for fuel-efficient transport. But to be a truly fuel-efficient transport company, a modern truck is not enough; a good driver is a necessity. For this reason Volvo Trucks puts strong emphasis on vehicle handovers and professional driver training.

”Through the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge we want to show the difference a good driver makes. A fuel-efficient driver can make a substantial difference and save as much as ten percent in fuel costs. In the long run, that means huge cost savings for transport companies. And I am truly impressed by how well the drivers utilised the potential and techniques of the trucks,” says Lene Larsen, Project Manager, The Drivers’ Fuel Challenge, Volvo Trucks. 

Of the 28 participant in this year’s Drivers’ Fuel Challenge, Stanislav Martynov from Russia, Emir Salihović from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tomáš Horčička from the Czech Republic and Kjetil Dale from Norway made it to the grand final. In the end, it was Tomáš Horčička who brought home the title.

“Winning The Drivers’ Fuel Challenge means the world to me. And since I am both a truck driver and a company owner, I know how important fuel-efficient driving really is.” says Tomáš Horčička.

Along with the title of “world’s most fuel efficient truck driver”, the winner also received a VIP-trip for two to a Formula 1 race of their choice, where they will gain unique insights into the F1 racing world.

How the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge works

From 42 participating countries, 28 drivers qualified for the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge global final. The competing drivers had 12 minutes and 30 seconds to drive a Volvo FH truck around the 6.9 km long competition course. The main goal was to use as little fuel as possible. Additionally, bonus points were given to the drivers that finished the course in the shortest amount of time. Factoring in time in the overall results, ensured that it became even more important to keep high average speed.

Facts about the winner:

Name: Tomáš Horčička

Age: 34

Nationality: Czech

Occupation: Tomáš Horčička

Result: Fuel (litres): 2,90. Time: 10:40. Fuel with bonus (litres): 2,04.

A selection of Volvo Trucks recent fuel-efficiency efforts:

  • Presentation of the Volvo Concept Truck which uses 30 per cent less fuel
  • Enhanced Euro 6 engine
  • Improved aerodynamic design of the Volvo FH cab
  • Weight reductions on the Volvo FH and FM
  • I-Shift with crawler gears offers an outstanding startability for heavy haulage and in severe conditions and increased fuel efficiency
  • Tandem Axle Lift, which allows the second driven axle to be disengaged and raised when not fully loaded in order to reduce fuel consumption

For further information, please contact:  

Joe Pretorius, Brand Manager at Volvo Trucks South Africa

Phone: +27 11 842 5069                    

email joe.pretorius@volvo.com

Nadine Arendse

(T): 011 706 3060

Cell: +27 82 893 3839                        

email: nadine.arendse@grey.co.za

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