This 1905 engine can rival a modern-day EV for torque—just add steam — Petersen Automotive Museum


This steampunk contraption can go some serious pounds. The boiler is coal-fired and practically 6 foot deep. The warmth from the fire creates steam that moves a 14-inch diameter piston through a 14-inch stroke. Get anything dialed in effectively and there is not much that can end this 75,000-pound monster. The only point it can not do is outrun anything: Top speed in higher equipment is just about 6 mph.

The engine can’t move rapidly, but this video exhibits the 150 Scenario pulling a bottoming plow via the earth. Not just any bottoming plow, either—this just one is assembled from several plows and steps virtually 50 ft edge to edge. The bodyweight of the plow and operators alone around matches that of a 2000-pound levels of competition tractor pull-sled include in the (literal) drag generated by the resisting grime and this object would end just about anything at all in its tracks. The Scenario receives stoked up and pulls through with out situation. Seeing the governor chatter and click means that steam piston is executing all it can, however.

This highlights the intersection of torque and horsepower. In our present day globe we are spoiled by multi-velocity transmissions that multiply the reasonably meager torque of inside-combustion engines. Electric motors have a practically flat torque “curve” and consequently only demand a transmission in unique applications. Increase even a smaller equipment ratio and all of a sudden a 9000-pound SUV can zip from to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with almost no drama. What that the fashionable, rubber-exhausted EV just can’t do is get the job done like this steam-run behemoth.

Two diverse resources for two various duties, while. What modern EVs and this 1905 traction motor share, unusually plenty of, are relatively rudimentary transmissions, highlighting the know-how has ultimately caught up to the task. Really like it or hate it, EVs can haul—even if we won’t be substituting them for locomotives any time soon.


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