Mumbai: Motorists coached by eco-driving experts can significantly improve the fuel economy performance of their cars, trucks or SUVs, claims Ford Motor Company. Eco-driving refers to specific driving behaviours that can improve fuel economy, save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote safe driving.
Ford and Phoenix-based Pro Formance Group have teamed up to pilot an eco-driving programme for fleet customers. The programme would employ certified master trainers to deliver hands-on coaching to maximise mileage in everyday driving.
Over a four-day period, Ford and the Pro Formance drivers conducted validation tests using volunteers from Phoenix who were given individual coaching on specific driving behaviors.The Sports Car Club of America verified the results, which showed an average 24 per cent improvement in fuel economy as a result of hands-on eco-driving training.
The 48 drivers who took part in the validation tests displayed varying results ranging from 6 per cent fuel economy improvement to more than 50 per cent, depending on their driving style and ability to master eco-driving behaviors. Eco-driving instructors coached drivers to employ smoother breaking and accelerating, monitor their RPMs and drive at a moderate speed.
Among the eco-driving practices that drivers can begin practicing on their own are driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph, keeping tires properly inflated at the recommended pressure, and eliminating prolonged idling. To learn more about how you can maximize your mileage, (Also see: Following the right eco driving tips help in better fuel economy)
The US Energy Information Administration reports that the US uses about 150 billion gallons of gasoline annually. If every American practiced eco-driving and got the EPA-estimated 15 per cent benefit in fuel economy, more than 22 billion gallons of gas would be saved.
Eco-driving training was launched by Ford in Germany in the 1990s in cooperation with the German Road Safety Council. In the only industry-based drivers' eco-training course, specially trained and certified instructors run programs for several target groups including fleet drivers and customers. Several of the master trainers recently travelled to Ford in Dearborn to teach the coaching techniques to drivers with the Pro Formance Group. They will now leverage Ford of Germany's eco-driving expertise to develop a pilot programme that would certify eco-driving instructors to train Ford's fleet customers.
Hands-on instruction is critical for achieving full potential of eco-driving since instructions for eco-driving techniques must be customized after instructors have had the opportunity to observe individual driving habits and then provide coaching for more fuel efficient driving techniques.
Ford's eco-driving initiative builds on the recent launch by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, of a comprehensive nationwide effort to promote eco-driving at www.EcoDrivingUSA.com.
Ford is working with Pro Formance which also provides training for Ford's Driving Skills for Life programs aimed at teen drivers. Pro Formance instructors typically come from a racing background and have an intimate knowledge of a vehicle's mechanics and their handling dynamics. They have hundreds of hours of experience observing driving behavior and communicating how best to maximize a vehicle's performance for fuel efficiency and safety.