PIT Tests Fuel Economy in European and North American trucks

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BLAINVILLE, QC. — Are European trucks better than their North American brethren in terms of fuel economy? Given the price of fuel over there (you think we have it bad?), it’s a question I’ve pondered more than once. And in a couple of weeks, we’ll have an answer.

FPInnovations’ Performance Innovation Transport (PIT) group is about to host its biannual Energotest event, September 11th to the 19th, an independent verification of trucking technology performance, at the Transport Canada test track operated by PMG Technologies in Blainville, Quebec. Evaluations will include fuel-consumption comparisons — using SAE J1526 Type III tests — between Volvo VNL 630 XE and European Volvo Globetrotter tractors. Should be interesting.

The PIT group is a not-for-profit engineering and research center for the North American trucking industry. It works in co-operation with the U.S. SmartWay Transport Partnership, Natural Resources Canada, and Environment Canada. It evaluates technologies that promote efficient energy use in commercial, municipal, and transit fleets, with participating members that include 26 fleets and 16 municipalities, as well as federal and provincial government agencies.

Along with the truck comparo, the fall Energotest will also feature evaluations of trailer side skirts, an on-going pursuit.

“We created the Energotest to provide accurate and indisputable results on the economic and environmental impact of green fleet technologies,” says Yves Provencher, director of PIT. “Suppliers come to the Energotest for independent verification of their technology’s performance. Fleet managers who are early adopters of green technologies attend the event to find solutions they can use to transport goods in an environmentally friendly and cost efficient manner.”

Based in Montreal, PIT uses leading-edge technology combined with the most stringent testing protocols to guarantee reliability in its test results. In the five years since its inception, PIT has earned a solid reputation and claims to be the continent’s premier truck technology engineering and product testing firm. I won’t argue with them on that one.

At the spring 2013 Energotest, I was one of about 300 attendees on hand to witness a variety of tests, including a hard look at 6×2 drive axles sponsored by NACFE, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. It was part of that organization’s months-long examination of such axles, and a report on its findings is due soon. 

“Our goal is to accelerate the implementation of the best technologies and make sure inferior technologies are not taking resources that could be used more effectively,” says Provencher. “Bottom line is we focus on the best, eliminate the bad, and if we can’t find that technology in Canada or the U.S., we will go overseas to find it.”

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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