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The standard configuration of US-designed locomotives is to have a cab at one end of the locomotive only. Diesel engines are well known to deliver great fuel economy and gobs of torque, but the sparkless powerplant is not known for great responsiveness. The idea of using an electric motor instead of exhaust gases to drive an intake compressor is not exclusive to Audi. But the electric turbo isn’t the only area in which Audi hopes to improve diesel performance.
When combined with a third technology, the mild-hybrid system promises to save even more fuel. To us, it seems more than logical that all three of these technologies preview the next steps for Audi’s diesel range. Steam locomotives were used to move rail cars throughout the 19th Century and for the first half of the 20th Century.
The traction motors on a diesel electric locomotive can be reversed to facilitate breaking, however a train with a full consist still takes some distance to stop. Before the electric locomotive, steam-powered trains were a popular form of transportation, especially during the 1800s. A locomotive is a specialized type of train car which is self-propelled, generating energy through the burning of fuel, the use of electricity, magnetic levitation, or other experimental methods.
As a general rule, a locomotive is extremely powerful, because it must be capable of pulling or pushing a chain of train cars. The earliest locomotives were developed in the first decade of the 1800s, and they were powered by steam. Although the classic image of a locomotive involves placement at the head of the train, a locomotive can also push from behind. Locomotives which are designed to pull freight trains tend to be the most muscular, since freight trains can get very long and extremely heavy.


Since most the US structure gauge is large enough to allow the locomotive to have a walkway on either side, there is enough visibility for the locomotive to be worked in reverse. Audi hopes to change that with a new development we saw at the carmaker’s Future Mobility workshop in the days preceding the 2012 Paris auto show.
In addition, Audi claims the system increases the low-end power enough that mild acceleration at highway speeds requires less downshifting, which improves fuel economy. This last tidbit is Audi’s predictive efficiency assistant (PEA), which uses GPS data and road-speed information to coach the driver on more efficient use of the accelerator. The iHEV system also can incorporate a gasoline engine, and it seems like a logical step beyond today’s stop-start systems to help meet increasingly stringent fuel-economy standards. Locomotives can be used to push or pull train cars, and they can be seen on railroad tracks all over the world, propelling passengers and freight to various locations. Unlike locomotives, train cars lack a source of power, and their movement is totally dependent on the locomotive. They were also fairly crude and low powered, although the steam engine was quickly refined during the 1800s to create powerful steam locomotives which could burn wood, coal, and other materials, depending on what was available.
Some railroads use what are known as push-pull operations, in which a locomotive pulls a train in one direction, and pushes it in the other.
Many others use diesel and other fuels to power their locomotives, while electric locomotives are growing in popularity, along with locomotives which use more experimental technology. But this was our first experience actually driving a vehicle outfitted with the technology. It also employs a familiar concept: a combination starter-alternator connected to a larger-than-normal battery that enables frequent stopping and starting of the engine.
As an example, pretend you’re driving up a hill: Normally, you would apply the throttle to maintain speed until you reach the crest.
That the electric turbocharger runs on the same 48-volt system seems more than just coincidence.


Locomotives can pull long strings of heavy cars on both flat surfaces and grades, and they are literally the powerhouses for trains. The development of the locomotive enabled the construction of railroads, which were a dominant method of land transportation for people and freight well through the first half of the twentieth century. This eliminates the need for time consuming track switching, as the train can move easily in either direction. Switchers or shunting locomotives are the smallest and most agile of the locomotive family, being used to move trains and train cars around in train yards. Light rail systems used for commuting often use self-powered cars which are known as motor coaches or motor cars; because each car runs under its own power, it is easy to move light rail trains around as needed, adjusting the number of cars and runs to meet demand. Specific to the Audi prototype we drove, however, was a 48-volt lithium-ion battery and electric system. Based on GPS data, however, PEA knows when the hill ends and can instruct you to lift off the throttle a little earlier. As a general rule, switchers are capable of immense amounts of traction, enabling them to quickly get heavy trains in motion and then using that energy to move them to their end destinations. As opposed to the electric turbocharger’s setup, here a voltage converter steps down the juice for the rest of the 12-volt systems in the car. The same can be done when approaching a curve or approaching an area with a reduced speed limit. At speeds higher than 19 mph, the engine will shut down completely when your foot is off the throttle pedal. In our limited test drive, that happened quite often, and with the engine not running, the car coasts much more freely than in a conventional vehicle.



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