Michelin/Volvo study – the ‘right tyre’ can cut CV fuel costs by more than 10%
Recently Michelin and truck manufacturer Volvo teamed up to study the influence of tyre and wheel-related factors on fuel consumption – and found having the right tyres, tyre pressure and wheel alignment reduce consumption by up to 15 per cent. Volvo notes this equates to a saving of as much as £6,650 per vehicle per year.
“We know that wheel alignment, tyre type and tyre pressure all have a major impact on fuel consumption,” said Arne-Helge Andreassen, business area manager for tyres and wheel alignment at Volvo Trucks’ Aftermarket department. “However, there is a lack of awareness in the transport industry about the importance of checking tyres and wheel alignment on both the truck and the trailer. At our dealers, we can help haulage companies check the entire combination and correct any problems. If everyone did this, it would have a significant impact on carbon dioxide emissions.”
In a two-week long, 1,000 kilometre test, a combination with optimal tyres, tyre pressures and wheel alignment was compared with a vehicle featuring different wheel alignments and tyre parameters. The tests were carried out on a track and in a workshop under the watchful eye of the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. The trucks’ fuel gauges were supplemented by special instruments that monitored exact speed, tyre wear, tyre pressure and rolling resistance. The test engineers made adjustments in the test results for factors such as wind, rain and temperature.
“All the conditions tested were realistic, and no exaggerations were allowed,” Andreassen commented. “Real life is bad enough. Diesel consumption increases dramatically if the wheels are not entirely parallel. And this applies to all vehicles, for construction and long-haul operations too.”
Volvo reports that analysis of the test results reveals a difference of as much as 14.5 per cent in fuel consumption depending on how the wheels are aligned and equipped. Choice of tyre can cut consumption by as much as 11 per cent; correct tyre inflation brings a reduction of 1 per cent, while proper wheel alignment can cut fuel consumption by 2.5 per cent.
Jacques de Giancomoni, technical account manager at Michelin, explained that one-third of fuel consumption stems from the tyres’ rolling resistance. “Having the right tyres is of paramount importance,” he said, adding. “But checking tyre pressure – which also has a significant effect on fuel consumption – is also important.”