Dr. Z thinks driver training could have as much impact on MPG as technology

In an article in the June 2007 issue of Automotive Engineering International Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche discussed some of the technologies that will lead to reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years. There wasn't much new that we haven't already heard numerous times before although it's clear that Zetsche isn't much of a fan of strong hybrid systems. That's probably why Daimler teamed up with GM and BMW on the development of the two mode system instead of going on their own like the usually do.
More interesting than that however was Zetsche's perspective on driver training. As we've seen very clearly with hybrid vehicles, mileage is as much about the driver as it is about the technology. Hyper-milers like Randall Burkhalter can achieve well in excess of 100mpg while more typical drivers like John True barely get into the low thirties. Zetsche wants to see better driver education that will teach people how to minimize fuel consumption.

Daimler already provides such programs to truck drivers in Europe where eighty-five percent of the trucks they build are picked up from the factory by the drivers. Daimler provides an intensive course on how to maximize efficiency and it pays off. Zetsche wants to see such programs expanded to all drivers. The beauty of this approach is that it can help extract more efficiency out of the hundreds of millions of existing cars on the road without waiting a decade or more for the a significant portion of the fleet to turn over.

[Source: Automotive Engineering International - Sub. req'd]

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