Truck News


The great equalizer

MONTREAL, Que. - A group of four entrepreneurs from the Montreal region has created a company called RM2J, which has begun the successful commercialization of the Fuel MaximiZer (MFZ for short). Not o...

MONTREAL, Que. –A group of four entrepreneurs from the Montreal region has created a company called RM2J, which has begun the successful commercialization of the Fuel MaximiZer (MFZ for short). Not one of these gizmos you drop in the fuel tank or “magic magnets” you stick on fuel lines, this patented device actually moderates drivers who tend to “floor it” too often.

Engineer Jean-Francois Aussillou (very well known in the Quebec trucking community for the work he does at Allison Transmission) had the basic idea…a little more than 25 years ago while he was working in Cameroon, in central Africa.

He was a teacher at a small technical college and the school was using a truck to get goods from the main village. As fuel supplies were limited, diesel consumption was a big issue there, and the young teacher rapidly realized that the intervals between the fillings varied radically depending on who drove the truck. It was obvious: some drivers just buried the throttle pedal in the floor of the vehicle. Now, if he could only find a way to prevent this. He tried a couple of handmade prototypes that did the job but as oil prices were much cheaper in the 80s than they are now, he didn’t succeed at raising much interest about his idea. But now that a barrel of oil is flirting with the $100 mark, it’s a completely different ball game.

Put simply, the FMZ he developed with partners Rejean Turmel, Jean Poulin and Mathieu Guerin, is a computerized device that calculates the power the truck really needs to haul a given load safely, but also as fuel-efficiently as possible. The unit weighs merely a pound and is roughly the size of a Kleenex box. It is connected between the accelerator pedal and the engine’s ECU. Each unit is programmed to fit with each carrier’s unique conditions of operation (flat or mountainous, medium or heavy loads, etc.)

After the installation is done (not more than two hours, claims RM2J) the “throttle box” takes into account various parameters such as load weight, available horsepower, etc. to calculate what power is really needed to make the truck accelerate in a decent, yet civilized manner, in order to maximize fuel economy. It takes the electric signal sent by the throttle pedal, interprets the conditions and sends a command to the engine’s ECU for a certain amount of power, at a certain RPM level. Think of it a little bit as the “locking” mechanism that keeps a truck from going over a determined speed limit.

“The basic idea is to give the driver the power he needs instead of the power he wants,” says Aussillou. But is it safe? What if the driver needs instant power to get out of an emergency situation? Nothing to worry about says Mathieu Guerin. “Let’s say that the truck is half loaded. It would simply react as if it were fully loaded; a situation the driver is familiar with. So he’ll just adapt his driving accordingly, going more smoothly, thus saving fuel.”

Payback time

Tests on the dyno, on prototypes and in real-world conditions with the first customers have proven that this “impetuosity control” can translate into fuel savings that can reach the 10% and over level, depending on the application. The more stop-and-go and the more hills, the more a fleet can save, since it’s in these circumstances that the engine is most solicited.

“In some applications where the loads are almost always equal, on flat roads and with excellent drivers, the FMZ would not make a significant difference,” admits Aussillou, adding: “But if a fleet is concerned about some of its drivers not being gentle with their machines, they should definitely consider it.”

The device is priced somewhere between $1,500 and $2,500 (depending on volume) and is a 100% Canadian invention, using Canadian brains and Canadian components. It has a “plug-and-play” configuration, so there are no wires to splice or cut, no modification whatsoever to the truck or the engine. The team of engineers has made sure it is compatible with all Class 7 and 8 truck engine brands and that it doesn’t have any negative effect on the engine’s warranty or that of the aftertreatment system. With the fuel savings realized, RM2J representatives say the ROI period can be as short as a couple of months but almost never more than one and a half years.

A fleet can install the units itself or have it installed at one of the branches of Detroit Diesel Allison Canada East or Wajax for about $250. The product is guaranteed (parts, service and technical support) for one year or 160,000 km.

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