Volvo Trucks Malaysia’s annual Fuelwatch Challenge, which first started in 2010, has returned for the 8th time this year and has so far mentored more than 4,450 truck drivers from all over the country on how to enhance their driving competency and behaviour to be more fuel efficient and safer drivers on the roads.
Out of this, seven lucky Malaysian truck drivers who scored the highest in the nationwide preliminary rounds will be given the opportunity to compete against one another in a fuel efficiency test in the Fuelwatch Challenge Malaysia Finals. The winning champion will then participate in the Drivers Fuel Challenge – World Final in Sweden that judges and more importantly, teaches skill, concentration, knowledge, and discipline.
The competition, which first started in Europe as a concept for achieving maximum efficiency, is moduled based on local market demands and industry landscape, where for Malaysia it will mainly concentrate on three key areas; Driver Development, Fuel Maintenance and Dynafleet or Telematics.
Mats Nilsson, Managing Director, Volvo Malaysia explained, “The Volvo Trucks Fuelwatch Challenge is more than just a truck driving competition. It’s not about speed, but all about efficiency and safety. Our key objective with Fuelwatch Challenge is to create better understanding and awareness on fuel efficiency, safety, maintenance, vehicle optimisation and driver behaviour.”
“Going beyond that, Fuelwatch Challenge also condones proper management and maintenance of the truck prior to usage. Not only will it contribute significantly to fuel efficiency on the road, it would also reduce the risk of a breakdown and more importantly, the safety of the trucker and those around it,” said Nilsson.
This year’s competition has kicked-off with preliminary rounds already held in Johor Bahru on 25th July, and Kuantan and Kuching on 27 July. The other five locations include Ipoh on 1st August, Bintulu on 2nd August, Prai on 3rd August, Port Klang on 5th August and Kota Kinabalu on 6th August. The competition is open to all drivers of Volvo trucks.
“Fuelwatch Challenge has been a highly successful event for us, given the very positive response from our customers. In 2015, we had 1,040 partcipants and in 2016, there were 1,410.
“Based on the number of participants who have already attended the recent preliminary rounds, there has been an average of 40% increase from last year. We have been seeing yearly increase in the number of drivers coming to take part in Fuelwatch Challenge as we have always strived to make the competition exciting. In addition, the competition also gives the drivers a certain sense of professional prestige and pride,” added Nilsson.
Volvo Trucks Malaysia will be making this year’s competition more interesting with the addition of three things. Firstly, Volvo Trucks will be including in the competition, an oral communication assessment for truck drivers as a value-add and to increase their confidence.
“Historically, truck driving is not seen as a career people would normally go for but truck drivers do play a huge role in moving the nation’s economy. They are the unsung heroes, which is why we are treating the job as a highly significant skill and career to have. We aim to help truck drivers increase their level of pride and sophistication towards their job by building good social skills through effective communication. At the same time, elevating their overall professional status,” commented Nilsson.
Secondly, it will be incorporating a live demonstration of the Driver Coaching feature using Volvo Trucks’ proprietary telematics system, Dynafleet. Here, the driver will be coached in real time from inside the truck’s cab using the secondary screen, supported by Volvo Trucks’ in-house driver trainer who will explain to the truck driver information on the printed reports and how to improve.
Thirdly, Volvo Trucks is planning to use its recently launched and highly powerful flagship heavy-duty long-haul truck, Volvo FH, for the final round of the competition.
“Many of our customers are now talking about future regional business opportunities which the Belt and Road Initiative will present and how to get ready for it. With the Volvo FH that is built for long-haul regional distribution and with superior torque and power, applying it in this year’s Fuelwatch Challenge would be exciting, and offer great experience to our customers and their drivers who take part,” shared Nilsson.
“At the end of the day, Fuelwatch Challenge helps our customers in the logistics and haulage industry reduce wastage and truck operating costs, because a competent and knowledgeable truck driver makes all the difference when it comes to fuel efficiency, safety and maintaining truck uptime,” concluded Nilsson.
All participants in the preliminary rounds will need to undergo a briefing and a written test to prepare and qualify them for the final stage of the competition, where only seven will qualify for the final round to be held in Shah Alam on 25th and 26th August 2017. Prior to that, these seven finalists will have to undergo a training session before the actual day of the final competition. The local champion will represent Malaysia at the global championship in Sweden from 18th to 22nd September 2017.