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AutoGlass Eco-Drive

By / 8 years ago / Features / No Comments

What is it?

Eco-Drive is AutoGlass’s internal project to reduce the cost and carbon footprint of its 1,000-vehicle fleet. With 90% of the company’s business now mobile, it trialled numerous telematics-based solutions before deciding the Lightfoot driver-monitoring system best suited its needs.

Developed by Ashwoods, best known for its hybrid Transit van conversions, Lightfoot is a dashboard display providing real-time feedback on driver behaviour and submitting daily reports back to AutoGlass’s headquarters to be distributed to branches.

The system has been steadily rolled out since January with the final installations completed in July, and project manager, Sean Goodfellow, said it’s proved so effective that the fleet-wide average fuel economy has improved by 15% – 50% higher than marketed by Ashwoods. Installations take less than half an hour and the device is activated immediately.


How does it work?

Goodfellow said AutoGlass was looking for simple, useful information about driver behaviour. Lightfoot doesn’t use GPS, and doesn’t monitor for aggressive cornering or braking. Throttle inputs and engine revs are monitored to detect inefficient driving, and the system also measures idling time. If the engine is left running for more than two minutes while stopped, the driver is advised to turn it off.

Feedback is given instantly by a dashboard display with rows of red, amber and green LEDs showing how efficiently the driver is using the vehicle, and chimes advising when to change gear. It’s tolerant enough to allow for short bursts of heavy acceleration, and only logs a red violation if it believes the driver is ignoring amber warnings to change their behaviour. Idling times can be extended in the winter, to allow for cabin heating, and can take account of powering vacuum cleaners if necessary.

It also provides longer-term data logging. Via a built-in SIM card, Lightfoot submits daily reports back to AutoGlass, which are distributed to branches and drivers are ranked via a system where time in red is subtracted from time in green. With a fleet-wide average score now over 80, Goodfellow said the emphasis is on helping the worst performing 10% to improve, and leaving the other 90% to self-manage.


What effects has it had?

Drivers have adapted very quickly to the dashboard displays. In blind trials, the system reported an average of between 45 and 50 violations per day, but most drivers are now down to one or two. This has resulted in the national average economy for the fleet rising from 28mpg to 33mpg, a 15% improvement, with reduced maintenance costs as an added benefit. Goodfellow said the company expects to recoup its investment before the end of the year, while reducing annual CO2 output by 1,000 tonnes.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.