Automotive

Unimog U 5023 sets a new world altitude record for wheeled vehicles

Unimog U 5023 sets a new world...
The team's mission was to install emergency radios at high altitude, but there was time for a little record-setting, too
The team's mission was to install emergency radios at high altitude, but there was time for a little record-setting, too
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Extreme off-road Unimog U 5023 trucks assist an expedition team in Chile
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Extreme off-road Unimog U 5023 trucks assist an expedition team in Chile
A new world altitude record for wheeled vehicles: 6,694 meters
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A new world altitude record for wheeled vehicles: 6,694 meters
A special system allowed the team to shift weight forward and backward to help balance the Unimogs' center of gravity
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A special system allowed the team to shift weight forward and backward to help balance the Unimogs' center of gravity
The Ojos de Salado in Chile is the world's highest active volcano
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The Ojos de Salado in Chile is the world's highest active volcano
The team's mission was to install emergency radios at high altitude, but there was time for a little record-setting, too
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The team's mission was to install emergency radios at high altitude, but there was time for a little record-setting, too
View gallery - 5 images

Mercedes-Benz's squat little Unimog trucks have proven their expeditionary prowess yet again with the announcement that a U 5023 truck has set a new altitude record for wheeled vehicles, reaching 6,694 m (21,962 ft) above sea level.

The mission: install four emergency radios at high-altitude campsites around the Ojos de Salado in Chile – the tallest active volcano on the planet, summiting at 6,893 m (22,615 ft) and rising out of the Atacama desert. The trucks: a pair of specially prepped Unimogs with extreme off-road tires and big winch units.

In order to handle the steep, mountainous terrain without toppling, the trucks were also fitted with a system allowing them to move weight forward and backward to modify the vehicles' centers of gravity.

A special system allowed the team to shift weight forward and backward to help balance the Unimogs' center of gravity
A special system allowed the team to shift weight forward and backward to help balance the Unimogs' center of gravity

Expedition leader Matthias Jesche broke his own altitude record, which he set in an older Mercedes Zetros in 2014. Getting up that high wasn't strictly necessary for the mission – the team had all four radios installed by the time the Unimogs got up to the Amistad high-altitude camp at 6,100 m (20,013 ft). But, hey, as long as you're there, you might as well take a little time to make history, eh?

Frankly, we're impressed that the Unimog's Euro 6-compliant, 4-cylinder gasoline engine was able to breathe up that high. We'd be huffing and puffing at half that altitude. Enjoy the photos, they're spectacular.

Source: Daimler

View gallery - 5 images
6 comments
sonic
Would have been nice to mention how they modified the engine.
guzmanchinky
I ride my motorcycle at 14,000 feet in Colorado. Both myself and the bike can hardly breathe up there. I can't imagine 22,000...
ChairmanLMAO
@sonic ya they must have modified the fuel air mixture on the fly somehow...
VincentWolf
an EV wouldnt be huffing and puffing. Perhaps a Tesla cyber truck owner will break the record soon.
guzmanchinky
Vincent - good point!
Robert Schreib
?? Perhaps they rigged up some kind of air compression device that they retrofitted into it, so that it could keep moving, despite the very thin air?