It’s time to Salute the Women Behind the Wheel!
The sight of nearly 300 women in red t-shirts at the Mid-America Trucking Show always turns a few heads. The shrieks and hugs from the participants bring a smile to everyone nearby. All female professional drivers are welcome to participate in this year’s event.
The Women In Trucking (WIT) Association is hosting its Third Annual, “Salute to the Women Behind the Wheel,” at the Kentucky Exposition Center (Louisville) on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Doors open at noon in rooms C201-C205 in the upper level of the south wing. Drivers can register at the show at the WIT booth (#40565) in the north wing lobby.
Any woman with a commercial driver’s license is encouraged to attend and is not required to be a member of the association; although they are encouraged to support the nonprofit association as a member. Female drivers can register at the Salute to Women website.
Attendees and their families will be welcomed by the Women In Trucking board members and the sponsors of the event where each female driver will receive a goodie bag filled with gifts. They will also be able to visit with corporate sponsors and meet with the driver advisory committee and accomplished drivers who have reached four million mile safe driving records.
Terry Wooley and Highway Fever will perform before the ceremony and guests will once again enjoy Women In Trucking’s signature chocolate fountains!
This year’s guest speaker will be Joyce Brenny, owner of Brenny Transportation, Inc. and Brenny Specialized, Inc. in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Brenny currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Minnesota Trucking Association and is the first woman to serve in that capacity.
Gold level sponsor representatives from Frito-Lay and Walmart will welcome the attendees and Women In Trucking President/CEO, Ellen Voie, will give an update on the association’s accomplishments.
The Women In Trucking Association hosts the celebration, but the event is funded through the generous support of the following sponsors:
• Gold Sponsors: Frito-Lay and Walmart Transportation
• Silver Sponsors: U.S. Xpress, Inc. and Volvo Trucks
• Bronze Sponsor: McGriff, Seibels, & Williams, Inc.
• Copper Sponsors: FedEx Freight, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., Owner-Operator DIRECT, Rand McNally, Trucker Charity Inc., and UPS Freight
• Nickel Sponsors: Airtab®, Anatabloc, Brenny Transportation, Inc. & Brenny Specialized, Inc., J.B. Hunt and Schneider National, Inc.
Women In Trucking (www.womenintrucking.org) was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generous support of Gold Level Partners; Bendix, Frito-Lay North America , Great Dane Trailers, Hyundai Translead and Walmart.
Tomorrow’s Trucks: Mean Green – The World’s Fastest Hybrid Truck
Mean Green is a unique hybrid truck built by an enthusiastic team at Volvo Trucks. They plan to use it later this spring to beat the world speed record for the standing kilometer. Behind the wheel is Swedish truck racing ace Boije Ovebrink.
“The absolute elite among Volvo’s hybrid technology experts are the driving force behind the project. They are true enthusiasts, every last one of them. I’d go so far as to say that Mean Green is the world’s fastest hybrid truck,” says Ovebrink.
To understand how he can make this claim with such confidence, we need to rewind to November 2007. Ovebrink had just beaten his own standing kilometer record from 2001 for trucks with a maximum displacement of 16 liters. He achieved this by reaching an average speed of 158.829 km/h with his red Volvo NH16, a.k.a. The Wild Viking. After winning, he met Staffan Jufors, President and CEO of Volvo Trucks, who asked him: “Do you plan to sit down and twiddle your thumbs now, enjoying the fame that comes with being world champion, or do you have any new ideas?” Ovebrink replied: “I’d like to build the world’s fastest hybrid.”
“The idea met with approval, but at the time I had no idea about the fantastic technology Volvo had in the pipeline,” he recalls.
Planning for the hybrid got under way. Suddenly, however, a Czech truck racing team claimed they had beaten Ovebrink’s record. Order had to be restored, so that spring, Volvo engineer Olof Johansson got down to some serious work. He started building a truck that could retake the record but that could also be reconfigured for the planned racing hybrid driveline. That truck is now called Mean Green. But the team decided not to install the hybrid driveline straight away.
“I started building the truck from two half frames that had been earmarked for the scrapyard. And the American VN cab came from a crash-tested chassis whose cab was totally intact,” he explains.
Weight reduction was absolutely crucial to setting new records. For example, the front axle was milled by experts from Volvo’s engine factory in Skövde and lightened from 100 kg to 57. And the gear set for first gear was removed from the gearbox, shaving off another seven kg.
“I slit open the wiring harnesses and removed unnecessary wiring. That slashed almost six kilos,” says Johansson.
Ovebrink was also ordered to lose weight.
“They made me promise to lose 20 kilos (44 pounds), and so far I’m half-way to my target,” he says.
Designer Jonas Sandström at Volvo put in many hours with his CAD program to come up with the optimal aerodynamic shape.
“It’s important that the wind breaks away from the bodywork in the right way. Our truck differs from a Formula 1 car, for instance, in that the aerodynamic properties allow the truck to slice through the air rather than be pressed down onto the road surface,” he explains.
Just a few days before the assault on the record, it was announced that FIA, the international motorsport organization, had disallowed the Czech team’s result. Still, there was no need to cancel the planned attempt on the record. Ovebrink and the Volvo team were aiming to further improve on the 2007 record. And on June 9, 2010 they did just that. The new world record for the standing kilometer was set at a two-way average speed of 166.7 km/h. Top speed was in the region of 260 km/h.
Once this was achieved, focus reverted to what the entire project had been about from the very outset.
“Olof immediately went on the offensive. The very same day the new record was set, he pulled out his toolbox and started modifying the truck to build what we see today – a thoroughbred hybrid.”
The truck already had a standard Volvo 16-litre engine with 700 hp, with equipment including twin turbos from Volvo Penta. It was a powerplant delivering a massive 1900 horsepower. The truck retained that unit. However, the lightened Powertronic auto-shifter was replaced with a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox so that the transmission could interact with the component that makes Mean Green a hybrid – its electric motor.
“This gives an additional 200 horsepower and 1100 Newton meters of torque. The result is a lightning-speed boost from start-off without any of the customary diesel-engine delay. It’s like a champagne cork, but without the sound effects. For the first couple of seconds, the truck just makes a slight whistle until the diesel engine, which runs on renewable liquid rosin diesel, starts delivering with explosive force – by which time the truck is already doing 60 km/h and I can engage ninth gear,” explains Ovebrink.
When is Mean Green going to make its bid for the standing kilometer record?
“In November, we tested it at Volvo’s Hällered proving ground to see what it was capable of. As soon as the winter snows disappear early next spring, we’ll set our record,” Ovebrink stated.
The standing kilometer
The distance is 1000 meters and the truck starts off from standstill. The course is first covered in one direction and then the other. The average speed from the two runs is noted as the official figure.
Follow Boije Ovebrink’s adventures on Facebook: www.facebook.com/boijeovebrink
See the film from June 2010 when Boije Ovebrink set his new world record: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ4yEph2jCk