Because records are meant to be broken

You may recall last week when Volvo ran a teaser video about its newest high-performance semi truck. As oxymoronic as it sounds, this behemoth was custom built for one purpose only – to beat Volvo’s previous speed record made in 2012.

It’s called The Iron Knight and it’s powered by 13.0-liter D13 turbodiesel engine making 2,400 horsepower and a whopping 4,425 pound-feet of torque. Mounted mid-ship, it sends power through Volvo’s I-Shift dual-clutch automatic transmission to the rear tires. Unsurprisingly, the sprint to 62 mph takes only 4.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 171 mph despite its tremendous weight and flat face.

The driver is Volvo’s accomplished truck racer and test man, Boije Ovebrink. He’s also the same driver who set the 2012 record in Volvo’s Mean Green Hybrid truck. While the driver might be the same, Volvo’s truck has certainly changed. Gone is the hybrid system, as are 2,205 pounds of curb weight. The Iron Knight then packs on an additional 600 horsepower over the hybrid truck.

In order to break the FIA-sectioned record, the team would need to complete two runs, one in each direction, within an hour window. During the 500-meter run (0.31 of a mile), The Iron Knight posted a time of 13.710 seconds with an average speed of 81.58 mph. The truck then completed the 1,000-meter run (0.621 of a mile) in 21.290 seconds with an average speed of 105 mph. This beat Volvo’s previous 1,000-meter record time of 21.56 seconds.

Congrats, Volvo, on making one awesome truck.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

This feat might not seem important, but Volvo is known for doing over-the-top stunts to showcase its equipment and garner attention to its brand. This record is no different. You are reading this, after all. You might be wondering what [exactly] you’re supposed to be impressed with. Is it the 13.0-liter diesel, the driver, the custom-built cab? Nope; it’s actually the transmission.

Volvo states these speed records were staged to “demonstrate the performance of the I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox.” You’ll find that text in the last few seconds of the video.

While the official purpose might be lost of most folks, the cool factor here is undeniable. It brings interest to the Volvo brand and helps build a loyal fan base, which Volvo hopes eventually becomes customers.

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