- A video featuring a hamster driving a Volvo truck on a narrow, winding road above a Spanish quarry has gotten more than 3.6 million views on YouTube.
- The video was created to promote the new Volvo Dynamic Steering system, which reduces steering effort on the 15-metric-ton truck.
- No animals appeared to be harmed in the making of this video; and they did give him a carrot.
OURENSE, Spain — A video featuring a hamster driving a Volvo truck on a narrow, winding road above a Spanish quarry has gone viral with more than 3.6 million views on YouTube.
Any video demonstrating a new feature on a 15-metric-ton gravel-hauler might ordinarily be ignored by...well, just about everyone. But Volvo piqued the interest of millions of online viewers by putting a rodent behind the wheel.
The spot was created by Swedish ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors to draw attention to Volvo Dynamic Steering, an optional system designed to reduce the effort needed to steer a fully loaded commercial vehicle. At low speeds, an electric motor attached to the steering shaft and controlled by electronic sensors, provides additional force to make turning the wheel a one-finger exercise.
In a statement, Sten Ragnhult, who was responsible for developing the system's hardware at Volvo Trucks, said: "There are sensors in a number of different locations, and together they provide a comprehensive picture of what is happening to the truck. For instance, sensors on the wheels and the transmission's output shaft measure the vehicle's road speed, while another sensor identifies which gear is currently engaged."
But how to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new system to customers?
The agency and Volvo engineers decided the best way to show off the new ultra-light steering was to use an ultra-light driver, Charlie the hamster. In the video, Charlie runs in a round wire track attached to the truck's steering wheel. Using a carrot, a human "passenger" tempts Charlie to run first one way, then the other, guiding the truck left and right along a narrow, rock-strewn path.
The good news is that Charlie, the human and the truck all survived the demonstration. The bad news is that Hamster Drive is not an option that Volvo is offering on its 2014 models.
Edmunds says: We would sincerely hate to see Charlie and his gravel-hauler in a game of chicken with the Kia hamsters in their compact Soul hatchback.