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Tech: Derive Systems Promises Quick Fuel Economy Payback

Software Optimizes Fleet Power and Economy

In the fleet world, every penny counts, so it’s not surprising that a company that offers a cost-effective way to increase vehicle efficiency without performance penalties is thriving. Derive Systems says that’s the case with its custom software tweaks.

The company was created when its predecessor, which made a name with software designed solely to increase muscle car performance, merged with a similar company that specialized in trucks and big rigs. The combined software expertise led to a company that offered consumers performance-enhancing software and fleets software based on some of the same technologies, but designed to deliver the best possible fuel economy.

Applies To Gas and Diesel Engines

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Plugging In & Dialing Down Fuel Use

As an example, Derive’s software applied to Ford’s Powerstroke diesel engine governs top speeds, reduces idle speeds and adjusts performance parameters to deliver a 10 percent fuel economy improvement.

Clean Fleet Report observed the Derive Systems software in operation and noted that the idle reductions were evident while the performance of the vehicle was not negatively affected in a short test drive.

Derive Systems currently has software designed to enhance efficiency on 21 different models from Ford, General Motors and Isuzu, covering the majority of fleet applications with a heavy emphasis on light-duty truck platforms. The 160-person tech company is working to expand its offerings and says it experienced 100 percent growth in its economy offerings last year and is seeing a similar growth rate this year.

All About Demystification

Company representative Amy Goldman said the company’s goal was “demystifying automotive technology” with its engineers designing custom calibrations for each fleet customers, often making hundreds of engine management system changes while still keeping engines within EPA and CARB specifications.

Goodman reported that fleets average 12 percent annual fuel economy savings and see a payback time of less than six months, even at today’s lower fuel prices.

The basic package includes:

  • Speed limiters that can set a vehicle’s maximum speed
  • Idle RPM reduction of 10-30 percent
  • Throttle response reprograming that can moderate acceleration levels
  • Active fuel management that can activate and deactivate cylinders on the fly
  • Transmission shift point changes at lower speeds
Derive Systems,mpg, fuel economy

Installation is just a plug-in

Inputs are made via a vehicle’s OBDII diagnostic port with a Derive programming tool. A side benefit of the new software programming, according to Derive, is that a fleet vehicle’s working life is often extended since it is subject to less taxing operation. Each fleet can set the parameters of software for its unique situation. Derive also employs a data logger so operational data can be gathered to continue to optimize the system while in use.

One market in which Derive Systems has been successful is law enforcement. In different situations, the software may be used to increase horsepower and throttle response or boost limit top speeds and increase fuel efficiency.

Pricing for the system is based on the fleet size with a flat fee per vehicle upgraded plus a subscription price to cover ongoing support and updates.

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About Author: Michael Coates

is editor and publisher at Clean Fleet Report and an internationally recognized expert in the field of automotive environmental issues. He has been an automotive editor and writer for more than three decades. His media experience includes Petersen Publishing (now part of The Enthusiast Network), Green Car Journal, trade magazines, newspaper and television news reporting. He currently serves on the Board of the Western Automotive Journalists.

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