What’s In A Name?

March 6, 2015
Address the confusion around electronic engine parameters with industry standards.

There are folks who say that what you call something isn’t all that important. But what if half a dozen people are calling the same thing by different names? That would be pretty confusing.

And yet that’s exactly what’s happening with electronic engine parameters. In doing research for our recent Confidence Report on this subject, we found that one of the reasons fleets may not be optimizing their engine parameters across all their vehicles is because over the development of these features, engine manufacturers have different names for essentially the same function.

 Let’s take something fairly obvious like a parameter that limits the truck’s top road speed. Our research found the following five names used for that one parameter:

  1. Accelerator maximum vehicle speed
  2. Max road speed
  3. Customer vehicle limiting speed
  4. Max accelerator vehicle speed
  5. Maximum accelerator pedal vehicle speed

You can see how it would be confusing for a fleet that has multiple brands of trucks with multiple engines to keep track of the various names of this parameter. And remember that is five names for just one parameter. Fleets we spoke with for the Confidence Report typically have at least three brands of engines running in their trucks.  Now it isn’t that simple as this parameter needs different names as the speed can be programmed for different operating conditions, such as one for cruise and different setting, higher or lower, for pedal speed.

Since there are a plethora of parameters the confusion increases tenfold. Think of it has having to be fluent in English, Spanish, Swedish, German and Chinese all at the same time.

While we understand that some differences are desirable for product positioning in the marketplace and intellectual property rights protection, the reality is that it muddies the water for fleets.

Given that fleets can see a 5-8% fuel economy improvement when they optimize engine parameters for fuel economy, it might be worth it for the industry to work together to develop some common nomenclature.  Reach out to us at http://truckingefficiency.org/contact-us if you’d like to help us with a Call to Action on this subject.

Our Confidence Report contains an appendix that attempts to compare fuel economy parameter names from the various engine manufacturers. Engine manufacturers could provide an improved level of understanding and communication in the field if the names for common parameters between different manufacturers were the same. The fleets we spoke with were loud, clear and frequent in voicing their opinions on that subject. Apparently what you name something indeed does make a difference.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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