DALLAS. Valvoline International, Inc. subsidiary of Ashland, Inc. and telematics provider, Tiwi, a division of inthinc Technology Solutions, Inc., unveiled a program here yesterday designed to get fleets up to 4% better miles per gallon-- guaranteed.
Dubbed the “Fuel Proof Guarantee,” the program combines the fuel-conserving benefits of Valvoline’s Premium Blue Extreme 5W-40 engine oil and Syn Gard FE 75W-90 gear oil with a new driver monitoring and mentoring system from Tiwi, a company best known until now for its crash data recorders and wireless timing/scoring solutions for motorsports.
The Tiwi (pronounced “tee-wee”) system is designed to monitor vehicle speed as compared to the posted highway speed, seat belt usage, hard braking, rapid acceleration and more. When an out-of-range event occurs, a small windshield- or dash-mounted in-cab device provides verbal prompts to the driver, advising him or her to take immediate corrective action. In the case of speeding, drivers generally have a few seconds to respond before a violation notice is also automatically sent back to dispatch; in the case of aggressive driving incidents, the violation notice is also immediate. Fleets can set performance and sensitivity parameters for each tiwi system.
“Drivers have the ability to take away any fuel efficiency benefits from lubricants,” said John Noal, vp, international and commercial platforms for Valvoline. “This new program addresses both sides of the fuel economy equation to deliver real results.”
“According to EPA statistics, driving habits affect mpg by as much as 35%,” noted Todd Follmer, CEO for Tiwi. “Fleet testing has proven that using Tiwi in-vehicle mentoring will decrease aggressive driving events by 89%t and speeding violations by 86%. The EPA reports that simply obeying posted speed limits will increase fuel efficiency by as much as 23%.”
The Fuel Proof Guarantee covers a 120-day, 30-truck customer demonstration period, designed to enable fleets to see for themselves how the Valvoline/Tiwi combination can improve fuel efficiency. The fleet, Valvoline and Tiwi will establish a fuel economy baseline with current routes, vehicles and drivers. Then the truck lubricants will be changed to Valvoline’s Premium Blue Extreme 5W-40 and Syn Gard FE 75W-90 and the Tiwi unit will be connected to the J1939 link in each vehicle. Once programmable parameters are set and the web-based service is demonstrated for the fleet, the real test begins.
According to the partners, if, at the end of the 120-day test period, their combined technologies do not deliver fuel economy improvements in the fleet as promised, Valvoline and Tiwi will refund the incremental cost of the oil changes and remove the equipment from the vehicles, something neither Tiwi nor Valvoline expect to be doing much of, however. “We have a 95% level of confidence in this,” said Noal. “We know that fleets are understandably skeptical about mpg claims, however. They not going to believe any numbers until they see the results for themselves. The limited Fuel Proof Guarantee is a risk-free way for fleets to prove that our mpg gains are for real.”
“Fleets will see a dramatic change the day they turn on the mentoring,” noted Follmer, “and the change in behavior just gets better over time. Drivers do not begin to regress back to their old habits the way they can do after training programs.”
Initially, Valvoline and Tiwi are targeting fleets of 200 or more Class 8 vehicles for the demonstration program, but Phase II and Phase III extensions are already in the works. According to the companies, virtually every type of fleet application can profit from the technology combination, including long haul, LTL, waste management, construction and P&D.