‘The Iron Knight', Volvo's New Custom-Built Truck Sets Out To Break World Speed Record
By Maddy Price
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 16:56
‘The Iron Knight’ is a specially-built vehicle and the result of a unique co-operation between technicians, engineers and designers at Volvo Trucks. With the exception of the engine and its series-built I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, the truck is entirely custom-built. Now with 2400hp on tap, the truck will attempt to set new international speed records on August 24th and the attempt on the record will be shown on Volvo Trucks’ social media channels.
A tough challenge and a dream project for the technically-minded, which is how the team behind ‘The Iron Knight’ describe the task of designing the specially-built truck. The powertrain is based on the same unit that sits in a road-going Volvo FH, but the engine has been pushed to its limits to produce maximum power.
“The Iron Knight is the perfect way to showcase the competence and innovative power of Volvo Trucks. At the same time, our aim was to generate new insights into technical and design solutions. The intention is to transfer some of these to our series-produced trucks,” says Claes Nilsson, President and CEO of Volvo Trucks.
The engine in the potential record-breaker is a mid-mounted and significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercooler and four turbochargers, producing 2400hp and 6000 Nm of torque. The electric and electronic systems have been scaled down and the software has been re-programmed, all so that the highly-tuned engine can communicate optimally with the transmission – an I-Shift Dual Clutch of the same model that is fitted to series-manufactured Volvo FH models. The only adjustment to the gearbox is its reinforced clutch, which is necessary to handle the remarkably high torque.
“In order to beat a world speed record, you have to have exceptional performance. The I-Shift Dual Clutch is the best possible transmission for the job since it maintains torque on the drive wheel during gear changes, just like a racing car does. Thanks to this, The Iron Knight can accelerate without losing vital time during gear changes,” explains Niklas Öberg, Volvo Trucks’ Test Engineer.
The Iron Knight is a tribute to the Volvo FH. Its technology and design complement one another and every single detail – from the grille at the front to the side-skirts – fulfils a precise function.
“The cab is made of fibreglass and designed to cut air resistance to an absolute minimum. The side-skirts give the truck an impressive stance with their large air ducts that supply the engine with cooling-air. ‘The Iron Knight’ has an attractive and powerful design inspired by today’s Volvo FH. You just have to look at the vehicle to realise that this is a truly fast truck. Even when it’s at a standstill it looks like it’s on the move,” says Nigel Atterbury, Senior Designer at Volvo Trucks.
With the celebrated racing driver, Boije Ovebrink behind the wheel, ‘The Iron Knight’ will take a tilt at the world record in two categories: 500 and 1000 metres from a standing start. On August 24th it will be possible to watch the record-breaking attempt on Volvo Trucks’ social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.