In this fascinating article Tony Davies gives an historical run-down on vehicles with two engines, a century of the motor racing industries' experiments with racing cars with two engines along with some of the technical issues associated with a town or commuter vehicle having two engines. (smh.drive.com.au)
Most Australian men and an increasing number of women are connoisseurs of motoring along with a host of associations with the humble motor car. Many men have long passionate love affairs with their cars while the everyday woman, over the past four decades and having the financial resources, have necessarily purchased motor vehicles, and sometimes on their own, have gained greater interest.
A motor car for many people is more than a person or people mover, it is a statement of identity within their financial where-with-all and a volume of choice surround the purchase of a motor vehicle. Such things include colour, design (sedan, hatch back, station wagon, dual cab, ute, van), and extras such as tinted windows, balance, front end paint protection, tow bar, sound equipment, mirrors and the like.
The engine performance is a key factor for most men while for women it is comfort and all round suitability, such as easy access to the boot for groceries, or getting children in and out of the rear seat child restraints. Nothing is simple and the choices are innumerable.
Two engine cars
Now, there is an additional option, a car with two engines. Most of us have a love hate relationship with the one engine with its constant servicing and repairs, now double that, with double trouble, may for some, not be the way to go.
Having said that, there are a host of existing situations where there are more than two engines. The hybrid car has both an electric and a petrol engine. The humble piston engine runs a multiple number of smaller engines such as starter motor and the air conditioning. It is not as though more than one engine is not out of our imagination.
The railway diesel electric locomotive has always had two engines. There is a huge diesel block that drives a huge electric generator that in turns provides electricity for the electric traction motors attached on the locomotive axles.
This system has had many attempts at refinement. One idea was a large steam powered engine block to drive the huge generator. Another was a hydro engine block.
Two separate engines
But two separate motive engines in a motor vehicle is quite something else. Yes., there are existing cars that have an engine in the back and another engine in the front. Finding luggage space is a different issue entirely, let alone fuel tanks to function both.
Tony Davies cites a number of examples from Porsche to Citroen to a situation of a racing machine with two Rolls Royce jet engines on each side …. "carefully synchronised so that one side of the car didn't break the speed barrier while the other fell short."
The question therefore might be put as to the advantages of having two motors.
The first issues relates to the ratio of power sourced to the torque on the wheels. Motor cars that have an engine in the front but powered along by driving wheels from the rear axles lose an enormous amount of energy. This is where front wheel drive cars come into the picture and the famous DS Citroen was a front wheel drive vehicle in the 50's.
If there were two quite small driving engines over the front and rear axles, that in itself might be an energy saver and if they were both electric, even more so. The idea itself is quite sensible. The overall ratio would be beneficial in every area. Small engines, small costs, lower driving costs and lower energy bills.
The kind of developmental thinking goes something like this - in layman's terms: a standard size six cylinder family vehicle requires say 8A's (a figure pulled from the air) of energy. This is with the usual front end motor driving the rear axle.
Now, put in two small motors, one on the front axle and one at the back axle, the requirement may only be 3A's of energy (hence the two engine idea). This example along with many myriad of prototypes are beginning to come to the surface. These are normally kept under wraps, sometimes for years, until better technologies comes along which will enable the idea to germinate into something workable for the everyday motorist.
It might seem strange to bring in the Bible here, but the illustration is valid. Biblical environmentalism has always been consistent, we have a divine duty to care for the earth for following generations. Reducing energy usage without sacrificing what has been gained, for the betterment of all, is right where we're at in this two engine development.
Perhaps more importantly, those in Christian ministry and mission have found over two thousand years they already had a second engine, when at the end of their tether in the heat of spiritual battle, the Holy Spirit fired up an invisible second engine.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html