Automated Manual TransmissionsAlthough fuel costs have declined more recently, all indications point to fuel prices continuing to reshape the economics of trucking, forcing the industry to find solutions to stay profitable. The use of an automated manual transmission (AMT) is on the rise. Today's AMTs are capable of performing actions that even the best drivers have trouble managing, and deliver better fuel economy to reduce a fleet's overall operating costs.
Experts say that AMTs can help deliver 1-3 percent better fuel economy than a previous generation engine and transmission, with very little physical change to the equipment. There are potentially higher gains from automatics in certain high-shifting duty cycles. Actual results vary depending on duty cycle, the capability of the driver, and how well the driver has been trained to operate a truck with an electronically-controlled transmission.
A growing number of fleets are specifying the AMTs because they have seen improvement in driver recruitment and retention, opening the pool of available drivers significantly, encouraging drivers to sign on with a certain fleet and helping to retain those drivers once hired. Trucks with electronically-controlled transmissions are easier and less tiring to drive, and younger people have no prior experience with manual transmissions.
TruckingEfficiency.org has created a payback calculator for individual fleets or truck owners to more accurately predict the gains that they would experience if they were to adopt AMTs. Users may include data specific to their operations and duty cycles, and receive a tailored response to whether the technology is worth investigating in detail.
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