Equipment testing models meet different needs: Provencher

John G Smith

MISSISSAUGA, ON – Yves Provencher, manager of PIT Group by FP Innovations, is a clear believer in testing new vehicle technologies.

“Testing technology on your truck is not an option,” he told delegates during the inaugural Canadian Fleet Maintenance Summit. “You need to invest with confidence … instead of trying it for months and months.”

PIT Group is dedicated to offering that confidence, completing neutral tests for manufacturers and fleet managers alike.

Governments are looking to ensure technologies are safe and environmentally friendly. Suppliers want to test prototypes for market. Fleets want to measure factors such as driver acceptance, operational efficiencies, and the return on any investments.

But as important as such details have become, every test model has strengths and weaknesses. To select the best options, people need to consider their ultimate goals.

An over-the-road test can be performed on a fleet’s trucks, with its drivers, and on familiar routes. And the results are certainly realistic, but challenging to repeat with any consistency.

While a test track may not be a perfect match, it can still mimic the operations and offer tighter controls on the results. The related tests are also repeatable.

Wind tunnels and labs offer great environments for compliance tests, too, but Volkswagen recently showed that results can be questionable, he said, referring to the manufacturer which has admitted to manipulating emission tests.

“Wind tunnels tend to be more optimistic than real life,” he added. And computer labs often struggle to develop the digital models that reflect real world conditions.

“It’s not that cheap to use,” he said. Some tests have proven to be more costly than they would be on a test track.

But the right balance of tests can generate the results which guide powerful decisions.


John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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