Hybrid Vehicle
The History of Hybrid Technology in Trains and Vessels

In the early eighties (when I had had little Hybrid Vehicle exposure ;) - I read of an ingenious World War I military engineer.

This engineer had a problem, a common problem in all wars. He needed to provide supplies to the front in great volume. The roads where bad or non existent and remaining bridges weak.

Horse charts where ideally suited to the terrain, but had a small payload which created another logistics problem.

Lorries, which also had relatively small payloads at the time, where not available in enough numbers.

The Americans learned from this and built thousands of the "duce and a half" in WWII and used them to supply the front line armies.


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Duce and a half


Nice picture of the "Duce an a half", by the way. It has nothing to do with Hybrid Vehicles - I just love off-roading trucks :-)

One of the possible solutions to this supply problem was to hitch together many 4 wheeled horse charts behind one big tractor.
When passing a bridge or a bad section of road or terrain, the tractor was unhooked from the wagon train and driven over the trouble spot.
Horses, men and winches (on the tractor) would then pull each wagon over the weak bridge or mud hole.
This solved the problem of payload per delivery but not the problem of volume over time as progress was still painfully slow.

What this ingenious engineer did was to let the "tractor" drive an electric generator and provide each chart with electric drive motors to drive 2 or 4 of the carts wheels.
Essentially creating what is now called a road train or a land train.

Now once the tractor was safely on the other side of trouble, each chart could be driven over - one at a time.
This ingenious solution also reduced the requirement of the tractor having enough traction to pull all the wagons as each wagon supplemented in driving the load.



The ingenious engineer was Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and the creation was called the "Landwehr".

Thus the Hybrid Train was born.
The forerunner of the diesel-electric train.

Later Porsche created another massive off-road monster, the C-train or the "C-Zug" as it was callen in German.

Land Train

The picture shows a modern land train. Land trains and road trains based on hybrid technology should not be confused with the Auzzy road trains of today, which use one tractor and several un-powered trailers.





diesel electric train


The City of San Francisco, a Southern Pacific diesel-electric train, at the yard in West Oakland, early 1950's.













Later the same principles where used in ships and especially the diesel-electric submarines. Albeit for another reason altogether.

diesel electric submarine