New fuel-saving technology for LCVs, which Ashwoods Automotive claims can deliver a return on investment within the first month, is already proving a success.
The Lightfoot in-cab system advises the driver on how to accelerate and when to change gear, with audio and visual aids.
It also monitors performance and sends a simple email report to the fleet manager on a weekly or monthly basis. This identifies the best and worst-performing drivers in the fleet.
Ashwoods Automotive says the technology can save up to 18% on fuel consumption.
One of the first customers was Ring and Ride, the West Midlands Special Needs Transport service. Ring and Ride operates 17 fully accessible 15-seat minibuses fitted with Lightfoot.
Des Rogers, operations manager at Ring and Ride, said: “We trialled Lightfoot on two vehicles and it had such an impact that we rolled it out to 17 vehicles in our Walsall depot.
“We compared the fuel efficiency of the Lightfoot vehicles to similar high-mileage vehicles within the fleet and it is delivering substantial savings. This not only helps us reduce costs but also by using less fuel we are reducing our impact on the environment.”
Lightfoot is embedded in the vehicle and costs £250, plus a “small” monthly subscription. It was developed by Ashwoods Automotive, the company behind the hybrid LCV. All Ashwoods Hybrid Transits are now fitted with Lightfoot technology as standard.
Mark Roberts, managing director of Ashwoods Automotive, said: “Lightfoot combines the best features of driver training and telematics at a fraction of the price, with clearly quantifiable savings and ROI.
“Every single Lightfoot customer has seen an immediate improvement in fuel consumption and is making real savings, net of the cost of our system.”
Lightfoot uses a simple traffic light system and audible warnings to advise the driver if they are being too heavy on the pedal; ignore two red warnings and the system logs a penalty which is reported to the fleet manager.
Lightfoot sends email reports to the fleet manager on a weekly or monthly basis to provide an over view of time spent in the Green, Amber and Red, number of penalties received and mileage covered. There is no internet login or password and no in depth analysis required.
To ensure a level playing field for all drivers, Lightfoot also factors in payload and drive cycle. Along with saving fuel and lowering fleet CO2 emissions, other benefits include less engine, brake, tyre and clutch wear, which could lead to higher residual values; and less road traffic accidents, leading to lower insurance premiums and vehicle downtime