4.2m views and counting: Have you watched Charlie the Hamster steer 15 ton Volvo Truck
Charlie, a golden hamster from UK has risen to fame following a stunt for Volvo Trucks. This furry wonder is the star of an online film called ‘The Hamster Stunt’ which has received over 4.2 million views on YouTube. The stunt features Charlie at the wheel of a 15 ton Volvo truck and steering it out of a quarry in Spain.
Trained by animal trainer Grace Dickenson, star actor Charlie demonstrated with an air of confidence and a positive mindset the art of steering a 15 ton truck, while he himself weighed just 175 grams. Dickenson says that training Charlie to perform the stunt took time and patience but the carrot as bait did the trick while the stunt driver Seon Rogers assisted Charlie through the motions with acceleration and braking.
Volvo Trucks new Dynamic Steering developed by Jan-Inge Svensson is a new system that permits drivers to maneuver a heavily laden truck with the least amount of effort. At lower speeds, an electric motor takes on driver’s muscle power and can be steered with just one finger. It is the same when driving on the highway as the new steering system displays outstanding stability.
This is the third such video by Volvo Trucks. The first was the Ballerina stunt, in which Faith Dickey is seen crossing a slackine between two trucks as the travel at break neck speed. The film demonstrated both improved stability and superior steering facilities seen in the Volvo long haul trucks.
The second film involved Volvo Trucks president, Claes Nilsson himself. To show the strength of “The Hook”, Mr Nilsson is seen standing on a Volvo FMX truck, which is held vertically upright and mid-air via steel cable, which is attached on the hook of the Volvo Truck. You can watch all the videos below. Volvo says there are more such videos in pipeline. We are waiting.
‘The Hamster Stunt’: how did Charlie do it?
Just a week after its release, Volvo Trucks’ film ‘The Hamster Stunt’ has become a global YouTube hit with over 3.6 millionviews. Was this daring stunt real and did Charlie ever get the carrot? Behind the scenes-footage of the stunt premiers today, bringing us a bit closer to Volvo Trucks’ new stunt-star Charlie; the world’s first truck driving hamster.
‘The Hamster Stunt’ shows how a truck is steered along narrow, uneven tracks in a quarry in Spain. At the wheel is Charlie, a hamster weighing in at 175 grams. Exactly one week after the video aired on YouTube, ‘The Hamster Stunt’ has claimed more than 3.6 million views, and the conversation about the authenticity of the stunt and the role of Charlie the Hamster is still going strong.
Viewers on YouTube have been commenting and asking about Charlie wanting to know, if he ever got the carrot. Today, animal trainer Grace Dickinson, who took care of Charlie on set in Spain, replies to all the questions and reveals that Charlie did get the carrot in the end; “He ate it all” says Grace Dickinson and adds that Charlie is enjoying life in a pet family.
Why put a hamster behind the wheel?
In February, Volvo Trucks launched a new technology that makes even a heavily laden truck light and easy to manoeuvre. The driver can steer the vehicle without the least bit of effort, in fact all it requires is a single finger on the steering wheel. Charlie the Hamster puts this technology to the test as he steers a Volvo FMX construction truck up and out of a hazardous quarry.
Meet Charlie the first hamster to drive a truck
Charlie is a Golden hamster from Oxfordshire and he was carefully chosen based on a long casting procedure. He spent time running in the specially built hamster treadmill, and was trained to stay focused in a noisy, unfamiliar environment.
“Charlie’s our star! He demonstrated that he has the best strength, confidence and attitude to learning new ideas. And he’s very food-oriented so he’s willing to follow the target, which is a carrot,” says Grace Dickinson.
During the film shoot Charlie was treated like the star he is. Together with his trainer he had his own “trailer” in a tent on site. Everyone involved in the film was made fully aware that Charlie, who loves a lie-in in the mornings, should have plenty of time to wake up gently and prepare for his role.
The experienced stunt driver Seon Rogers assisted Charlie with the accelerator and brakes. “We were a great team and I’m looking forward to more road trips with Charlie,” says Seon Rogers and laughs.
Charlie the hamster
Species: Golden hamster.
Age: Six months (golden hamsters have an average life span of two years)
Weight: about 175 grams.
Home: Oxfordshire, England.
Miscellaneous: The golden hamster comes originally from Syria and is an active animal – in the wild they can run more than 10 kilometres a night. On average they are about 15 centimetres long.
Interesting facts: Charlie is a late riser, he loves carrots and enjoys running in his treadmill.
The Volvo FMX
Type: Construction truck.
Weight: 15 tonnes in standard configuration with 4 axles and tipper.
Launched: 15 April 2013
Made at: The Volvo plant in Tuve, Gothenburg
Interesting facts: The unique technology behind Volvo Dynamic Steering makes the truck light and easy to manoeuvre. The truck and its trailer can weigh up to 100 tonnes. It handles tough work in difficult terrain.