Five Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency in Excavators

Volvo CE offers many new technologies and services that help companies reduce their fuel costs while becoming more environmentally friendly.

Fuel is one of the biggest cost factors for most construction companies. Volvo CE has equipped its machines with fuel-saving technology and offers a wide range of fuel-saving services. Reducing fuel consumption by increasing efficiency not only saves money for companies, but also helps to reduce their impact on the environment. Every litre of diesel fuel saved means that 2.6 kilograms less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.


The automatic idle function on Volvo excavators reduces fuel consumption by automatically setting the engine to idle after five seconds of inactivity. This reduces engine speed and saves fuel. Five seconds is the default setting for the automatic idle function, but it can be selected within a range of three to 20 seconds. All the operator has to do is touch a joystick or foot pedal to return the engine to normal and full power. This feature improves fuel efficiency without compromising machine productivity.


The automatic engine shutdown works similar to the automatic idle function. Instead of switching to idle mode, the machine’s engine switches off completely after five minutes of inactivity. After four minutes of inactivity, the machine issues a 60-second warning that the engine is about to shut down. The excavator’s engine then switches itself off. This function helps to reduce emissions when the machine is at a standstill. A machine can be idle for 40 to 60 percent of its operating time, which contributes significantly to lower fuel consumption.


Many manufacturers offer an Eco mode on their machines, but this generally only reduces engine speed by 10 percent. Volvo CE’s Eco mode regulates pump flow to prevent overflow of the overload valves while ensuring maximum digging and swivelling efficiency. It reduces flow and pressure drop and improves pump flow control, resulting in a 5 percent increase in efficiency. Unlike other manufacturers’ Eco mode, it increases efficiency without compromising machine performance.


Based on data from the CareTrack telematics system, Volvo Fuel Efficiency Reports are a valuable tool to help customers maximize the fuel efficiency of Volvo machines. Sensors on the engine monitor fuel consumption. Reports are automatically compiled according to Volvo’s pre-defined algorithms and displayed in an easy-to-read PDF format. Instead of wasting time analyzing confusing data, the customer can quickly and clearly identify areas where fuel efficiency can be improved, set targets and monitor progress.


Volvo Eco Operator Training helps experienced machine operators operate their machines even more efficiently. The programme focuses on fuel consumption at idling speed, planning the most effective working methods and correcting machine operation and manoeuvres. Eco Operator Training can reduce a company’s fuel consumption by up to 50 percent.