After improving a previous world speed record for the standing kilometer in June 2010 with a diesel model, Volvo Trucks is now developing a new diesel-electric hybrid version called "Mean Green" to claim the title of the World's Fastest Hybrid Truck in spring 2011.
A well known Swedish truck racing ace, Boije Ovebrink, is going to be the one to drive the hybrid and he's already very confident of a positive outcome. "I'd go so far as to say that 'Mean Green' is the world's fastest hybrid truck," Mr. Ovebrink said.
"I started building the truck from two half frames that had been earmarked for the scrap yard and the American VN cab came from a crash-tested chassis whose cab was totally intact," explains Volvo engineer Olof Johansson.
Conventional oomph comes from a 16-liter Volvo engine, fitted with Volvo Penta twin turbos that increase peak output to a whopping 1,900 hp (1,417 kW). The electric motor adds another 200 hp (149 kW) and 1,000 Nm (738 lb-ft) of torque to this explosive cocktail and can interact with the driven wheels through a modified I-Shift automated gearbox.
Weight reduction is crucial when you want to set these kinds of records, so Volvo engineers milled a new, 43 kg (95 lbs) lighter front axle and also removed the gear set for the first gear, as it was rendered useless by the huge amount of torque. That shaved off another 7 kg.
Even Mr. Ovebrink takes part in these weight-saving efforts. " They made me promise to lose 20 kilos and, so far, I'm half-way to my target," said the truck racing driver.
The first test runs will take place this month, so we'll be keeping an eye open for any updates.
By Csaba Daradics