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Old 11-25-2007, 08:55 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 22,272

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 52.07 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 70.75 mpg (US)
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03-22-2006, 08:51 Pm

Originally Posted by RH77
"MetroMPG said... "diesel and locomotive cable". how cool will that look under the hood of a suzuki swift."

I just had a recurring idea. I grew up around locomotives with my father being an engineer. Long story short, I got to know how they worked from the time I was like 3 years old.

For those who don't know, it's an interesting process, which has worked well for over 50 years. The "Prime Mover" is the big Diesel engine that you hear rumbling. This engine ranges in number of cylinders 12-16, and the pistons are larger than you or I. Redline is around 500 RPM.

The Diesel engine turns a huge generator, which produces a schload of electricity. The electric power from the generator goes to the "Traction Motors", which is what moves the locomotive (some have 4, some 6). When slowing or going down a large hill, instead of burning up the brakes or losing air, many loco models have what's called "Dynamic Braking". The traction motor's polarity is reversed, and turned into generators. The resistance slows the train and sends the electricity to huge capacitors where the juice is lost in heat dissipation.

I've thought many times how this would work to power a car. Could a small engine and generator, in team with some batteries, use the same concept to make a car that's FE? The purpose of the batteries could be used to get the vehicle going, then the engine kicks in to get the power flowing to recharge the batteries and power the traction motor on the vehicle. In addition, regenerative/dynamic braking could charge the batteries. The question would be whether the generator and small engine would weigh more than the additional batteries on an electric-only setup. The range would definitely increase, as would the speed (depending on your electric motor). A plug-in system could re-charge the batts overnight. Almost like a hybrid, but perhaps more efficient.

Sorry to beat on GM again, but half locomotives out there are made by a division of GM, and the other half by GE. GM has the technology -- modify it into cars!


Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
Mitsu mods: Oops, I did it again! Bought another cheap, 3-cylinder Mirage. Mods in progress...
Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown

has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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