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PIT to Study Engine Programming to Cut Fuel Usage, Emissions

MONTRÉAL, QC — Can you get even more fuel savings and reduce emissions with different engine settings? One North American not-for-profit research group has set out to find out.

“There are over 200 configurable parameters available to fleets, free of charge, to optimize engine performance based on usage, yet over 80 percent of engines sold are specified with the default settings,” says Yves Provencher, director of FPInnovations’ Performance Innovation Transport (PIT) group.

“Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are spent annually on implementing new fuel and emission reducing technologies while something as simple as appropriate engine programming could represent fuel savings of 10 to 15 percent,” Provencher said.

PIT has received funding from the Quebec government to start a commercial vehicle engine programming project to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The focus of the project is to guide engine manufacturers on developing parameters and setting defaults for various engine applications, and to guide fleets on which parameters to use based on a truck’s application.

"The entire road transport sector will benefit from the PIT group's research on engine programming,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations. “A direct source of fuel savings is waiting in the wings behind engine programming, and a better understanding of engine programming will help all trucking segments and other industries improve their energy performance."

Parameters will be developed for long haul, regional, delivery, refuse, forestry trucks and buses.

The project will help manufacturers and fleets optimize new engines, and the programming parameters developed for targeted applications will be useful when a truck changes vocation.

PIT partners in the engine programming project include:

  • Cummins Eastern Canada;
  • Cascades Transport Inc. (a PIT fleet member);
  • The Association of Mechanical Inspection Agents of Quebec (a collaboration between Canadian transportation, insurance and environmental agencies to improve and ensure consistency on all garages that perform mechanical and emissions inspections);
  • The Société des Alcools du Québec (a government-run alcohol distributor and a PIT fleet member).      
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One would think with in dash displays & controls, a driver could input the truck running empty/loaded. This alone would save fuel if the engine fuel could be cut back while running to a point to reload. Light loads VS heavy could also play into this same control, saving fuel while truck is running a light load.

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