Ecodriving describes a method of using vehicles in an energy-efficient manner. That is, driving in a way which minimises fuel consumption and thereby the emission of CO2 while on the road.

In the transportation sector, ecodriving regards not so much the vehicles being used by a fleet, but rather the driving behaviour of a fleet collectively; it is all about promoting more eco-friendly driving habits.

Having said this, although it is up to the drivers themselves to carry out ecodriving, it ultimately falls on fleet managers to provide the influence required to ingrain a culture that exhibits environmentally-friendly driving practices. So that you can understand the particulars, we’ve put together this guide which covers all you need to know about ecodriving.

The importance of eco-driving

For some time now, reducing the environmental impact of transport in general has been a global focus. However, now more than ever, the relevance of ecodriving is apparent. We have moved from the concern of global warming to global boiling, and vehicle fleets can play a huge part in making a difference. 

Just last year (2022), transport was the highest emitting sector of carbon dioxide, being responsible for 34% of total GHG emissions in the UK alone. This marks a nearly 4% increase from the previous year, and shows us that a response from fleet managers is currently a necessity if we are to reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

What are 3 eco-driving techniques?

Strictly speaking, the most effective way of decreasing the amount of fuel used by a fleet is to transition to a green fleet, i.e., an electric fleet. Albeit, we realise that this isn’t yet feasible for all organisations. 

However, this doesn’t go to say that your fleet can’t engage with environmentally-conscious alternatives. Here are three ecodriving techniques that will make your fleet more sustainable:

1. Avoid over-acceleration and harsh braking

When it comes to inefficient driving behaviour, accelerating too frequently and slamming down on brakes are the two main culprits. Both of these actions directly result in higher fuel usage, not to mention more vehicle maintenance being needed. 

Driver training programmes serve to avoid these occurrences within fleets by regulating speed and encouraging steady driving. Immediate in-cab feedback can also help to discourage such behaviours. Likewise, enabling cruise control when appropriate has proven to be singularly useful here.

2. Prevent idling

Idling is when a vehicle is stationary but remains running. Researchers from the Department of Energy report that idling from HGVs and personal vehicles combined wastes around 6 billion gallons of fuel annually. This equates to a staggering amount of otherwise avoidable CO2 emitted.

Some fleet drivers may be inclined to leave their vehicle on during mandated rest periods for heating purposes. If this is the case, then having external heat sources placed in fleet vehicles eliminates this cause. 

If idling is due to traffic, then your drivers should be instructed to turn their vehicles off if they expect to be idling for over a minute.

3. Optimised route planning

As well as enforcing driver training, fleet managers can encourage ecodriving by planning optimised vehicle routes. This refers to accounting for traffic reports, areas where roadwork is happening, and combining multiple trips into one when possible.

Principally, route optimisation is instrumental in the reduction of idling and the time fleet vehicles spend on the road. As such, optimised fleet routing and dispatching signals overall improvements in fleet efficiency.

What are the benefits of eco-driving?

Evidently, the foremost benefit achieved from ecodriving is a fundamental increase in the sustainability of a fleet. Optimised routes, less idling, and better driving habits all mean lowered fuel consumption, and so less carbon emissions being produced due to on-road operations.

Though, beyond the standout environmental benefits of ecodriving, fleet managers will also see benefits more immediately related to their role. Namely, the driving techniques encouraged by ecodriving inherently reduce wear and tear on vehicles, consequently meaning that less vehicle maintenance will be needed. 

Therefore, cost reduction from ecodriving is experienced from two angles. Firstly, less fuel purchases, and secondly, less expenditure for servicing and repairs. The latter is significant because, after all, fleet management is about maximising the life cycle of each and every fleet vehicle.

Eco-driving tools

Despite that the basis of ecodriving is fairly simple, actualising it isn’t the easiest. In fact, attaining fleet fuel efficiency is one of the biggest challenges for fleet managers today. This owes to the sheer degree of responsibility that fleet managers are burdened with, as well as the amount of external factors which often act as barriers.

For this reason, it’s essential that fleet managers are afforded tools which make ecodriving more accessible. For example, HGV route planners make optimised routing and dispatching streamlined while simultaneously increasing driver safety and customer satisfaction. Likewise, in-cab feedback and driver scorecards offer an incentive towards good driving habits.

Fleet eco-driving solutions from MICHELIN

On the back of the last point, a fleet manager is only as effective as the tools they are equipped with, and their position demands attention to a sizable number of duties. When the host of administrative tasks are considered in full, implementing an ecodriving strategy can seem impractical.

This is why we at MICHELIN Connected Fleet have developed ecodriving solutions for fleets, as opposed to standalone advice. We designed our fleet management software in such a way that makes sustainable fleet management seamless, thanks to our cloud-based dashboard which interfaces with vehicle hardware for comprehensive monitoring. 

Our integrated solutions target a fleet’s efficiency first, so that reducing your carbon emissions is a welcome byproduct of fostering an optimised fleet. If you’re interested in reaping the benefits that come from ecodriving, alongside administration automation, then be sure to make an enquiry into what we can do for you today. For further reading, feel free to browse our resources center.