It has been two years since the last Optifuel Challenge was held by French HGV manufacturer Renault Trucks, so in 2017 the competition is back once again, with thousands of drivers set to face off against one another to see who is the most efficient, according to UK Haulier.
Before the final showdown, which is set to take place later this year in Spain, the competitors will be whittled down via national heats, meaning only the cream of the crop will be able to make it through. And to keep things consistent, all of those taking part will be put to the test using the latest Range T truck from Renault.
2017 Optifuel Challenge Competition
Challenge spokesperson Tony Owen said that the intention behind this project was not just to pick out the most efficient driver in the world and celebrate his or her achievements behind the wheel but also to highlight the need to focus on efficiency across the board. This is not only a concern because of the environmental advantages of efficient driving, but also because such an approach can save operators money on fuel and maintenance costs.
The concluding test of the 2017 Optifuel Challenge is scheduled to take place in October, with drivers from 31 different countries set to participate. In the interim, extensive knock-out tests will be conducted by Renault’s teams around the world, and it will be interesting to see just how much progress has been made in the time that has passed since the last challenge took place back in 2015.
The Range T family of trucks consists of HGVs built to handle long-haul transport duties, and they appeal to operators based throughout Europe in particular thanks to the strength of Renault’s brand. The current tactics used by the firm to promote these models are based around the profitability of the features they offer – of which fuel efficiency is a key element.
One system which saves fuel while improving the experience for the driver is Eco cruise control, which can be adjusted depending on the road conditions, topography and other influencing factors. It can alter the speed automatically depending on whether the truck is heading uphill or rolling down an incline, meaning fuel consumption is optimised.
This works in conjunction with GPS-guided gear changes that coincide with and anticipate the route ahead to avoid any unnecessary wastage. So drivers can keep their minds on the road ahead while a lot of the efficiency issues are handled automatically.
Of course, the Optifuel Challenge is far from rendered redundant by the advances in technology that have occurred over the past decade, since much of the impact on efficiency still comes down to the skill of the driver and not just the truck’s hardware. Because of this, there is the possibility for significant variances in performance, and so when the final is held in the autumn, all eyes will be on the competitors to see just what it is possible to achieve with a well-honed set of skills.