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Diesel electric locomotives seem popular, even these days. The UK's Type 45 destroyers have tried integrated electric propulsion, and I think that there are hybrid motor-generator cars that can recharge their battery.

There clearly seems a steady move towards transforming more and more power train components to electricity in all sorts of vehicles. Assuming that we don't attach over head wires and a pantograph system to Volvos, the next best thing seems fully diesel electric power. No?

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  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps because designers are aware of the bad press diesel is getting... I wonder when they will remember Benzene is also known to cause cancer... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Sep 25 '18 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ The profile of power required against time and speed, for trains and cars, are very different. Trains do not need "high acceleration at high speed" to overtake other trains, and do not spend much time in stop-start low speed urban traffic. Adding a storage battery to provide short term peak power changes the design constraints - for example the propulsion system's power-to-weight ratio (including the battery weight!) is much more important for cars than for trains. I suppose that looking at the total picture for "ICE-electric" cars, diesel doesn't win out over gasoline. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Sep 25 '18 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ If your goal is to drive one axle from one engine, DEs are heavier and less efficient by about 10%. At the high end, you can get the efficiency penalty down to about 5%, but now they are about twice as expensive. There are a few instances where we do this anyway. Cruise ships have an enormous hotel load. Propulsion is just a fraction of total load, so there are savings in duty cycle, redundancy, and packaging. Electricity's one really convincing advantage is our ability to construct complicated distribution systems relatively cheaply and switch pieces on and off easily. $\endgroup$ – Phil Sweet Sep 26 '18 at 9:57

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