Diesel-Electric Big Rigs?

Modern Locomotives operate with a diesel-electric drivetrain, for efficiency. Lately, they are making gas-electric hybrid cars.
Why didn’t they build diesel-electric 18 wheelers? I figure, an engine, generator, and an electric motor in each wheel-hub would be moderately more efficient(not to mention far easier to drive)than clutch and who-knows-how-many gears.

This was covered in a VERY recent thread:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=63293

Not exactly. Then other thread touched on the subject, but I don’t see a conclusive reason why trucks are not diesel-electric.

(My guess would be either overall weight or else that the diesel-electrics would have a hard time on steep inclines.)

I know the Army asked the U.S. automakers to try a diesel-electric system on the standard 2 1/2 ton 6×6 around 1970 and it was shown to be not effective (using 1970 technology and costs).

The huge dump trucks used in open pit mining (the ones where a baskeball player has to look up to see the wheel hub) are diesel-electric, but you’ll note that the grades inside a pit mine are never steep.

As are the giant front-end loaders, etc. They’re made right here in my town! :slight_smile: Each wheel has its own motor (the whole wheel motor thing was invented by Mr. LeTourneau, who then founded the manufacturing company and the college here).

Quite right. I was engaging in the kind of anal whinging and pulling apart of other people’s threads of which I am so often critical myself. Apologies. :rolleyes:

Actually I asked this question in that thread and didn’t get an answer, perhaps I should have started a new thread. TheLoadedDog --The SDMB CoPs are going to have to come confiscate your flashing light and utility belt ;).

I have been thinking about the OP for a few days now and have come up with a few WAGs.

Not much opportunity for regenerative braking since trucks travel at a constant speed for long periods of time, but this applies to trains also.

A train has a very low power to wait ratio (I think), acceleration is not really an issue. Perhaps this system is most efficient for vehicles with a very low power to weight ratio and/or operate at very low speeds for an extended periods of time.

Ten speeds in most trucks, but you are shifting into seventh at 30 MPH.