After over 4 years of activities, the European project ecoDriver released its first results during the final event in Stuttgart today. The project trials have involved 170 drivers in 7 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and UK) both in controlled and naturalistic environments testing 9 different eco-driving support systems.

Despite minor variations in terms of percentage, overall the findings showed that, across all the systems, reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 have an average of 4.2% with the highest saving (5.8%) on rural roads. Embedded systems (the more elaborate systems, closely linked to the vehicle) were more effective than nomadic systems with fuel savings up to 6% (against an average 2.5% for the App). This difference is due to the fact that embedded systems perform better because of their integration into the vehicle whereas nomadic systems such as the App, despite being cheaper, relay mainly on GPS information.

“The results from our trials with a large range of eco-driving support systems indicate that there are substantial fuel and energy savings to be obtained when drivers are given precisely tailored advice on green speed and gear, as well as given foresight of how to drive when approaching a particular road or traffic situation. These systems can make a real contribution to reducing the carbon impact of road transport as well as to saving fuel costs. The systems also deliver important safety benefits by encouraging drivers to reduce their speed” – stated Professor Oliver Carsten from the University of Leeds and coordinator of ecoDriver.

Also, the ecoDriver systems proved to have strong positive impacts on speed, time headway, and accelerations and decelerations. This should translate into less severe crashes. Specifically, when the ecoDriver system included an indication of the recommended green speed, the average speed was reduced by 2 to 4%. A significant reduction in speed was also observed before sharp curves on rural roads when using the embedded systems.

“Road transport contributes about one-fifth of total CO2 emissions in the EU. Advances have been made in terms of cleaner vehicles, traffic management, efficiency and intermodality, but the final link is the driver. Driving behaviour has a major influence on fuel use and emissions” Hermann Meyer, ERTICO’s CEO said. “Projects such as ecoDriver allow us to test drivers’ behaviour in real life and represent an important contribution to increase safety on European roads while promoting eco-driving”, he continued.

ecoDriver Final Event took place in Stuttgart, Germany, where 7 vehicles (including a truck) showed to visitors the different systems developed by the project partners (BMW, TNO, VTI, CTAG, TomTom Telematics, IKA, IFSTTAR, CRF, Daimler). Official full results will be released later this year on the ecoDriver website, a public summary is available here.