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

This steampunk contraption can transfer some significant pounds. The boiler is coal-fired and practically 6 foot deep. The warmth from the fire makes steam that moves a 14-inch diameter piston through a 14-inch stroke. Get every thing dialed in appropriately and there is not much that can halt this 75,000-pound monster. The only detail it just can’t do is outrun everything: Prime speed in superior gear is just about 6 mph.

The motor just can’t move immediately, but this movie displays the 150 Scenario pulling a bottoming plow through the earth. Not just any bottoming plow, either—this one particular is assembled from various plows and measures nearly 50 toes edge to edge. The fat of the plow and operators alone approximately matches that of a 2000-pound competitors tractor pull-sled add in the (literal) drag developed by the resisting grime and this item would stop just about anything in its tracks. The Scenario gets stoked up and pulls via without concern. Seeing the governor chatter and simply click usually means that steam piston is doing all it can, although.

This highlights the intersection of torque and horsepower. In our modern-day world we are spoiled by multi-pace transmissions that multiply the rather meager torque of interior-combustion engines. Electric motors have a almost flat torque “curve” and as a result only demand a transmission in particular programs. Increase even a smaller gear ratio and quickly a 9000-pound SUV can zip from to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with almost no drama. What that the contemporary, rubber-worn out EV simply cannot do is operate like this steam-run behemoth.

Two distinct applications for two distinct responsibilities, though. What modern-day EVs and this 1905 traction motor share, unusually ample, are relatively rudimentary transmissions, highlighting the technology has eventually caught up to the undertaking. Enjoy it or hate it, EVs can haul—even if we won’t be substituting them for locomotives any time shortly.