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An Aftertreatment system can increase fuel savings by 1-2mpg? If it’s optimized…

May 16, 2017

Today’s modern, diesel engines are supposed to be more fuel efficient than ever. Especially if they are programmed and maintained by a dealer who ensures they remain emission compliant. An efficient engine means greater fuel savings, that’s what you’d expect right? Not necessarily. Many Fleet Managers and CFOs are puzzled as to why their fuels costs are still so high, even after investing in new fleet. The reason is one that is often overlooked by dealers; the lack of properly optimized Aftertreatment systems.  And a poorly maintained Aftertreatment system only leads to increased fuel costs.

With custom ECM programming of your fleets Aftertreatment systems, and the proper predictive maintenance practices, it is possible to greatly improve the efficiency and reliability of your fleet. When the Aftertreatment can finally work properly, your fleet can finally realize the fuel savings promised by your dealership.

Is anyone really benefiting from new engine standards?

The promise was that a newer, more efficient, and more expensive engine would deliver “significant” fuel savings. The reality? While engine manufacturers preach efficiency, fuel costs are still high and Aftertreatment related maintenance and repairs continue to rise.

Essentially, what is being said to you, is that in order to reduce your fuel costs, you need to invest in new trucks. However, these new trucks still can’t produce “significant” savings because of on-going Aftertreatment issues. Additionally, spending 6-figures on one new truck does nothing to improve the trucks you already operate. Adding a new truck only adds to the expense column.

The only way to truly impact your fleet expenses is to improve your existing fleet efficiency today. Improving your existing fleet’s average MPG is the easiest and most measurable way to save money. There are many ways to approach this, but the only way to unlock the full potential of your fleet is with proper Optimization. Optimization applies to new and older trucks (2007 and newer), in any application.

The basics of fuel economy

Courtesy of Cummins, here are some fuel economy basics that you should already be doing:

Rock-Solid Rules

  • Every 2% reduction in aerodynamic drag results in approximately 1% improvement
    in fuel economy.
  • Above 55 mph, each 1 mph increase in vehicle speed decreases fuel economy by
    0.1 mpg.
  • Worn tires provide better fuel economy than new tires, up to 7% better fuel economy.
  • Used lug drive tires can get up to 0.4 mpg better than new lug tires.
  • Ribbed tires on the drive axles provide 2–4% better fuel economy than lugged tires.
  • Every 10 psi that a truck’s tires are underinflated reduces fuel economy by 1%.
  • The break-in period for tires is between 35,000 and 50,000 miles.
  • Tires make biggest difference in mpg below around 50 mph; aerodynamics is the
    most important factor over around 50 mph.
  • The most efficient drivers get about 30% better fuel economy than the least efficient
    drivers.
  • Idle time is costly. Every hour of idle time in a long-haul operation can decrease fuel
    efficiency by 1%.

The only problem with these “Rock Solid Rules” is that Cummins assumes that your ECM has been properly programmed and calibrated by your OEM, and that your Aftertreatment is working properly. Unfortunately, most trucks have not been set up properly and are still operating with generic factory settings. This is because most OEMs don’t know how to properly customize the ECM for maximum efficiency.

If your fleet is experiencing premature DPF failure and constant Aftertreatment repairs and downtime, then it has not been programmed properly.

The Optimized Difference

Optimization is about REAL, MEASURABLE improvements to your fleet. When proper ECM programming is combined with the correct Aftertreatment maintenance practices, it is possible to greatly improve fleet efficiency and realize the full potential of today’s modern engine. Optimization is customized specifically for each individual truck in your fleet and their work application (duty cycle) for maximum results. Sampling from a variety of trucks, fleets, engine MY, and duty cycles, the potential improvements from Optimization are in a class of their own:

Optimized AVERAGE FUEL ECONOMY IMPROVEMENT: 11.31%

Optimized AVERAGE FUEL RATE IMPROVEMENT: 21.48%

Optimization can be applied to any truck application, and can be combined with any other fuel improvement technology. Compare that to an alternative option, like aerodynamic kits:

  • Aerodynamic kits can achieve up to a 3% average fuel economy improvement
  • only for long-haul application
  • do nothing to help improve Aftertreatment efficiency or reduce maintenance and repairs

A 10% improvement in average fuel economy from Optimization can save your fleet around $4,000 per year/per truck just in fuel costs!
(100,000 miles per year/$2.50 per gallon)

Not only are the fuel savings far more significant with Optimization, the payback period is much shorter, and the benefits last the life of the engine.

In this example, this fleet saved almost $9,000 in fuel in the first 1,000 hours of Optimization in their heavy haul dump trucks:

Notice that the newest engine realized the most improvement. This is because Optimization allows an engine to reach its full potential.

Why does Optimization work so well?

It is simple: Optimization corrects the root-cause of the Aftertreatment problem, and allows the engine to work at its full potential.

Generic factory settings prevent the Aftertreatment from working properly, which leads to operating with a plugged-DPF. A plugged-DPF causes all Aftertreatment components and the engine to fight the back pressure created by the DPF, working harder than they are designed to, which leads to progressive damage and premature failure. Additionally, this diverts engine horsepower and turbo boost away from the jobs they are supposed to be doing, resulting in lost efficiency.

Optimization not only ensures that the ECM has been properly programmed, it utilizes industry leading predictive maintenance practices that help reduce repair costs and downtime exponentially. Coupled with the potential fuel savings, Optimization is the single best investment you can make to improve fleet efficiency. Contact InTu Mobility today to learn more.

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