COLOGNE, Germany – Journalists from around Europe have been putting Ford’s ECOnetic Technologies to the test in Germany’s Eifel region, near Cologne. The Ford Eco-drive event aimed to highlight the fuel-efficiency savings that can be made by adopting eco-driving techniques, while also demonstrating Ford’s latest ECOnetic Technology.
The journalists each got behind the wheel of a Ford ECOnetic Technology model for the day - Focus 1.6-litre EcoBoost, Focus 1.6-litre TDCi or Mondeo 1.6-litre TDCi – and were taught Eco-driving skills by professional Eco-drive instructors.
Ford and Eco-driving
Ford has a long history of supporting Eco-driving activities, having launched Germany's first Eco-driving training concept in the early 1990s, in cooperation with the German Road Safety Council (DVR) and German driving instructors associations. In Germany alone, Ford has trained more than 17,000 people during different dealer and fleet customer events, while Ford has also taken the knowledge and experience gained in Germany to other regions in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America.
Ford is also on the advisory board of the ECOWILL Project, launched in May 2010, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to 8 Mt by 2015 through the increased application of eco-driving across Europe. The project will roll-out short Eco-driving training programmes for drivers in 13 European countries and will also promote educating learner drivers in Eco-driving.
Benefits of Eco-driving
Fuel Saving – Drivers use 20 to 25 per cent less fuel after training, and 5 to 15 per cent less on average over the long term.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
Fewer local air pollutants
Lower noise level
Reduced vehicle maintenance costs
Safer driving – According to the German Traffic Safety Council, Eco-driving training promotes a more relaxed driving style, which results not only in reduced fuel consumption, but also in measurable benefits to driver safety. Own damage claims over an 11 month period were reduced by 35 per cent following comprehensive Eco-driving training, compared to the same period before training.
The Art of Eco-Driving
Anticipatory Driving Style – Reading the road ahead and smart space management enables drivers to use the vehicle’s momentum in the best way, reducing unnecessary use of brakes and the subsequent fuel-sapping acceleration.
Smoothness – Keeping at a steady speed reduces useless acceleration-braking sequences or hectic manoeuvres, which helps lower fuel consumption as well as personal stress levels.
Early Gear Changes – Shifting-up gears early to drive at low revs reduces the strain on the engine, which massively helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Just one gear shift at the same speed can reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 15 per cent.
Trip Planning – Combine short trips rather than making individual journeys.
Reduce Electrical Load – Any electrical load – heated windscreen, air conditioning, stereo – increases fuel consumption, so ensure they are turned off when not needed.
Traffic Turn-Off – If stuck in traffic, turn the engine off rather than idling.
Tyre Pressure – Keep tyres properly inflated to the recommended tyre pressure. This improves safety and driving comfort and avoids wasting fuel. Correct tyre pressure alone can reduce fuel use by up to 3 per cent.
Roof Racks –Roof racks spoil the aerodynamic profile of the car and the additional drag means the engine has to work harder to travel at the same speed. Remove when not needed.
Excess Weight – Less weight means less work for the engine.
Servicing – Component wear over time can reduce a vehicle’s efficiency as well as safety. Replacing worn parts promptly and regular cleaning of pipes and filters can help maintain maximum efficiency.
How ECOnetic Technology Can Help
Active Grille Shutter – Smart front grille system opens when more cool air is needed to the engine compartment and closes when it is not needed, which aids aerodynamic and engine efficiency.
EcoBoost Engines – Direct injection, turbocharged 3- and 4-cylinder engines enable lower CO₂ emissions and fuel consumption, but with comparable performance to larger, less-efficient engines.
Smart Regenerative Charging (SRC) – SRC controls the alternator, charging the 12V vehicle accessory battery when it is most economical. This ‘free’ electrical current recouped during deceleration is used to top up the battery and to power electrical systems.
Thermal Management System – Engines work most efficiently when warmed up. This system reduces the time for that to happen from start-up.
EcoMode – Clever software coaches and rewards drivers for Eco-driving techniques.
Gear Shift Indicator – A simple light that appears at the most fuel-efficient point in the rev range to change gear.
Auto-Start-Stop – No need to turn the engine off at stop sin traffic, this smart system does it automatically, immediately restarting the moment the clutch pedal is pressed again.