‘Operator Idol’. It’s a light-hearted name for a contest with a serious goal: promoting fuel efficiency and low-carbon construction in China.
To demonstrate Volvo’s commitment to caring for the environment, the first-ever National Eco Operator Contest was announced at the China National Convention Center in Beijing last week by Volvo Construction Equipment executives, as well as dignitaries from the Chinese government and construction industry. The contest will determine who China’s most fuel-efficient excavator operator is, but more importantly, it will also promote the principles of Volvo’s Eco Operator program, which aims to reduce fuel consumption.
“This competition is a brilliant initiative from Volvo Construction Equipment in China,” said Klas Magnusson, Volvo’s senior vice president of corporate communications. “China is the fastest growing market for construction equipment in the world, and close to 40% of Volvo Construction Equipment’s sales already come from here. On top of that, ‘Operator Idol’ supports our core value of environmental responsibility, which is very high on the agenda in China, as well. Holding the contest here, at this time, couldn’t be a more perfect fit for us.”
The competition is part of Volvo Construction Equipment’s commitment to being a socially responsible company in China. In order to improve fuel efficiency, Volvo CE is working to develop advanced engines and dynamic new technologies – but also to optimize driving style. Though Volvo Construction Equipment machines are already known for their low fuel consumption, operators play the greatest role in improving fuel economy. If the operators of the 800,000 excavators at work in China each day operate their equipment using practices meant to improve fuel-efficiency, 1.44 billion liters of fuel could be saved annually – that’s equal to 3.76 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
“By launching this contest our intention is to help excavator operators master the theory and practice of fuel-efficient techniques, reducing environmental impact while boosting profitability,” said Lawrence Luo, president of Volvo Construction Equipment Sub-region China.
The contest is destined to be huge: more than 6,000 excavator operators across 30 provinces, cities and autonomous regions are expected to compete. Each operator will participate in Web-based or onsite fuel efficiency training, and the most skilled and environmentally conscious operators will advance to regional contests. In November the winners of those contests will compete in the final in Shanghai for the title of national ‘Operator Idol’ and the grand prize – a Volvo excavator for a year.
But winning isn’t everything. Regardless of the outcome, ‘Idol’ will teach operators some valuable fuel-efficiency skills from Volvo’s Eco Operator training program. And that’s the whole point.