The Fast and The Swedish: Volvo’s Hybrid Breaks Records

WENDOVER, UT. — Volvo’s “Mean Green” hybrid truck locked down a new world speed record for the world’s fastest hybrid truck last week at Utah’s Wendover Airfield.

The truck, which was seen at Truck World, clocked 236.577 km/h (147.002 mph) in the Flying Kilometer, and 153.252 km/h (95.245 mph) in the Standing Kilometer.

Adjustments to the truck had to be made, explained Boije Ovebrink, Mean Green driver and owner. “We knew Wendover would present challenges because it’s more than 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) above sea level. To compensate for the thinner air and help prevent overheating, we reduced the truck’s power by nearly 20 percent.”

Yet even with the power reduction, Volvo’s hybrid still had enough guts to beat previous records, including it’s own.

Though Mean Green’s modified aerodynamic body design bears little resemblance to a freight-hauling tractor, it is comprised almost entirely of production components from Volvo family vehicles, including a North American Volvo VN cab and frame. Mean Green features a highly tuned Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor. The combination of an electric motor and Volvo D16 diesel engine delivers 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft. torque — of which, 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft. of torque come from the electric motor.

Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks president, North American Sales & Marketing, said that Mean Green’s performance “underscores the strong potential of hybrid drivelines when applied to the right operation.”

“Neither hybrid or any other alternative fuel technology, like natural gas, is a one-size-fits-all solution, but the technology is available for appropriate applications. While diesel remains the most efficient transportation fuel currently available, we know the future of petroleum is limited.”

The speed record attempts were sanctioned by the United States Auto Club, an extension of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), motoring’s international governing body. The new world records are subject to FIA recognition, which will occur in about 30 to 60 days.

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