Understanding the origins and variability of the fuel consumption gap: lessons learned from laboratory tests and a real-driving campaign
Environmental Sciences Europe
Divergence in fuel consumption (FC) between the type-approval tests and real-world driving trips, known also as the FC gap, is a well-known issue and Europe is preparing the field for tackling it. The present study focuses on the monitoring of the FC of a single vehicle throughout 1 year with 20 different drivers and almost 14,000 km driven with the aim to analyze and quantify the true intrinsic variability in the FC gap coming from environmental and traffic conditions and driving factors. In
... iving factors. In addition, the regression model has been developed to evaluate the importance of these different factors on the FC gap's variability. Results: The 1-year FC gap measured in this study was 29% while driver's averages were in the range from 16 to 106%. The regression model developed had R 2 equal to 90.4 meaning that more than 90% of the FC gap's variance can be explained with this model and factors measured in this study. The results of the model showed that among all factors analyzed the highest contribution in the FC gap's variance is coming from the average vehicle speed (16.6%), followed by the road grade (13.4%), and trip distance (10.1%). Indeed, the highest FC gaps are measured when the average vehicle speeds were below 20 km/h, the average distance-weighted road grades above 1%, and the trip distances below 5 km. In addition, the impact of driver factors is not negligible (25%) and the highest FC gap is measured for the trips where average positive acceleration was higher than 0.7 m/s 2 (indicating aggressive driving) and the electric power demand higher than 800 W. Conclusions: The future lifetime on-board fuel consumption reporting is a crucial instrument that will allow the monitoring of the evolution of the FC gap and ensuring that it does not increase over time. The analysis presented in this study is a basis for setting up a more detailed and refined prediction model, which could assist the European Commission in closely monitoring the gap and the underlying factors generating it.