Volvo Trucks has staged another spectacular stunt to underline the and highlight the performance of its recently launched I-Shift with crawler gears.

The new crawler ratios make it possible to start and drive with a gross combination weight of up to 325 tonnes – which is unique for a series-production truck.

The question Volvo is posing however is ‘just how much weight can the transmission really handle?’

Volvo’s forthcoming test of ultimate strength will apparently reveal the answer. In the challenge, Magnus Samuelsson, former winner of the “World’s Strongest Man” competition, and British truck journalist Brian Weatherley will go head-to-head with the laws of physics and subject I-Shift with crawler gears to its toughest test.

“We already know that I-Shift with crawler gears can haul really heavy loads. With this challenge, we want to demonstrate the transmission’s immense capacity and show what the new crawler ratios can accomplish,” says Peter Hardin, Product Manager FM and FMX, Volvo Trucks.

In this challenge, which takes place at the Port of Gothenburg, the truck has to pull an extremely heavy container train.

“Attempting to move off from standstill with such a heavy load, like we’re doing here, is an immensely tough challenge for a regular series-produced truck with automated transmission. In my 30 years as a trucking journalist, I’ve never witnessed anything like it,” says Brian Weatherley.

The film in which Magnus Samuelsson teams up with the I-Shift with crawler gears will premiere on Volvo Trucks’ YouTube channel on April 12.

I-Shift with crawler gears is a further development of Volvo Trucks’ I-Shift automatic transmission. The new version of I-Shift has been specially developed for excellent starting traction and to handle driving at ultra-low speeds, it can drive as slowly as 0.5–2 km/h and can start off from standstill while hauling 325 tonnes, a unique achievement for series-produced trucks with automatic transmission.

The transmission is available in a choice of direct drive and overdrive, with one or two crawler ratios. It is also possible to specify two extra reverse crawler gears. The crawler gears are added to a regular I-Shift gearbox. In order to handle the high loads involved, several components are made from high-strength materials.

The gearbox is 12 cm longer than a regular I-Shift unit and is available with Volvo Trucks’ 13- and 16-litre engines on the Volvo FM, Volvo FMX, Volvo FH and Volvo FH16.

Brian Weatherley is a freelance truck journalist from the UK and the former editor in chief of Commercial Motor and Truck & Driver as well as being a jury member of the International Truck of The Year.

He is also host for Volvo Trucks’ web TV series “Brian’s Truck Report”.

Magnus Samuelsson is the only Swede ever to have won the title of “World’s Strongest Man” he has stood on the prize-winners’ podium five times. He later participated in a number of Swedish TV programmes and films, but declined a role in silver-screen blockbuster “Gladiator” in 2000.

You will be able to see the full video on from April 12.