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October 19, 2013 6:30 PM, EDT

‘PedalCoach’ Driver Tool Aims to Save 5¢ a Mile on Fuel

ORLANDO, Fla. — A fledgling company showcased a new product here it said could save trucking companies a nickel a mile in fuel costs, while helping to retain drivers.

Boston-based LinkeDrive Inc., which began in 2012, said its PedalCoach system gives drivers a display, similar to a tachometer, that shows green, yellow and red zones, with the green being optimally fuel-efficient.

“Our fundamental belief is that the driver is the key element in fuel economy,” Jeff Baer, LinkeDrive’s founder and CEO, said in an Oct. 19 news conference here during American Trucking Associations’’ Management Conference & Exhibition.

The system draws data from the engine, with the goal of “keeping it in the green zone,” said Baer, who worked in Detroit as an automotive engineer specializing in fuel economy prior to starting LinkeDrive. The company will be displaying PedalCoach at MC&E.

Utilizing “forward awareness,” the PedalCoach system, for example, lets drivers know to ease up on the accelerator in advance of a light or a ramp. For each mile drivers run while in the green zone, they get one point, which makes a cash register sound via the phone, which the drivers can turn up or off.

Baer said PedalCoach is being used in more than 100 trucks across 12 fleets, including Arrow Paper in Boston. The system typically pays for itself in two to three months, he said, adding that his company is “well-funded to break even next year.”