Trucks, or lorries for those who use the Queen’s language, are vehicles specially designed to transport cargo. They come in different sizes, configurations, and load capacities. A couple of companies have come out with trucks with power outputs so powerful that they could put even super cars to shame. These two companies are Scania and Volvo, and they have made the fight for the title of the most powerful truck in the world a Battle of Sweden.
The two companies have been producing trucks for the longest time now, but the battle intensified in 2009 when Volvo claimed the title when it released the widely acclaimed FH16 700 that could produce 700 horsepower. Scania immediately responded with the R730, a truck that is said to produce 730 horsepower. Not long after, Volvo took back the title with the FH16 750, which can go up to 750 horsepower.
The Scania R730
Scania Aktiebolag (publ), or Scania, was founded in 1891 in Sodertalje, Sweden. The company has ten production facilities located in various countries, including Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, France, Netherlands, Poland and Russia. It also has assembly plants in different countries in Asia and Africa. It is part of the Volkswagen Group, and it has more than 35,000 people in its employ.
Scania developed its first truck in 1902, when an engineer named Gustaf Erikson created one that had a gearbox with two speeds and an engine powered by gasoline. It later developed a three-ton truck in 1907 that won the Swedish Royal Automobile Club award in 1909. The company, however, encountered financial problems along the way before World War I saved it when the Swedish Army started ordering practically the company’s entire output.
The company gained a foothold in the rest of Europe in the early 60s with the creation of the European Economic Community, or EEC, which is the forerunner of the current European Union, or EU. It then embarked on an acquisition binge, buying out a competitor named Be Ge Karosserifabrik in 1966 and Svenska Karosseri Verkstaderna in 1967.
In 1999, Volvo attempted to gain control of the company by buying a 49.3 percent stake in Scania. At that time, Volvo was swarming with cash after it sold its car division to Ford Motor Company. The EU, for fear that it would create a monopoly in the Scandinavian countries, thumbed down the deal. Volvo, thereafter, sold its share to the German automotive company called Volkswagen AG.
The German truck manufacturer called MAN SE, which incidentally is also controlled by Volkswagen, attempted to take over Scania in 2006. The attempt failed, though MAN SE still has a 17 percent stake in the company. Volkswagen eventually upped its share in Scania to 70.94 percent.
In 2004, Scania started to manufacture and distribute the R-series. This has already won the International Truck of the Year award twice, in 2005 and 2010. The R-series is available in both truck and rigid types, and has been optimized for long haulage. Different axle configurations are available, and buyers can also choose the chassis height and suspension. Its styling is distinctive and the generous cab comfort has earned for it kudos from the trucking world.
The most powerful variant in the R-series is the R730. It is one of the most powerful production trucks in the world today. It features a 16.4 liter DC 16 turbo diesel V8 engine. This engine can produce 730 horsepower at 1,900 rpm. It also has torque of 3,500 N-m at up to 1,350 rpm.
The Volvo FH16 750
Volvo Trucks is a subsidiary of AB Volvo. It was established in 1928, a year after Volvo had released its first automobiles in 1927. The company is based in Gothenburg in Sweden and employs nearly 19,000 employees. It has production and assembly plants in 15 countries around the world.
The first Volvo truck was the LV Series 1. It featured a modest 2.0-liter, 4 cylinder engine that produced 28 horsepower. Its market was greatly expanded by its purchase of the White Autocar Western Star product program. This includes the Road Boss, Road Commander 2, Road Xpeditor 2, Autocar DC, Road Constructor 2 and the Western Star.
After General Motors closed down its heavy-duty truck manufacturing division in 1986, the Volvo White Truck Corporation absorbed its operations. The new company was based in Greensboro in North Carolina and was named the Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corporation. By 1990, all the product lines of GM had been discontinued. In 1997, the Volvo White GMC name was dissolved. Autocar products were also discontinued in 2000. All subsequent trucks were thereafter badged as Volvo.
Volvo then purchased the Renault Vehicules Industriels in 2000. The acquisition included Mack Trucks in North America. This purchase made Volvo the second largest truck manufacturer in the world after Daimler AG.
Volvo started producing the FH truck series in 1993. FH stands for Forward and High, after the forward control and high cab features of the truck. More than 400,000 units of the truck series have been sold around the world.
The truck emphasizes the comfort of the driver and the usability of its features. Its windscreen wipers are controlled by rain sensors, cornering lights have been installed for better visibility, the audio system’s power is complemented by USB and MP3 inputs, and the passenger seat is allowed to swivel. It also has an advanced radar cruise control, a Driver Alert System that monitors a driver’s responses as well as his time behind the wheel, a Lane Keeping Support that alerts the driver during lane changes, and a Lane Change Support that tells the driver when there is another vehicle in a blind spot of the truck.
Buyers of the FH16 can choose between an I-Shift and a manual gearbox. They can also opt for either a single reduction or hub reduction rear axles. The D16 engine produces 750 horsepower and torque power of 3550 N-m. Inertia-reel seatbelts are also provided to monitor sudden movements, thus further adding to the safety and security of the driver.