March of the Cogsmen, the first novel in the Galvanic Century series of steampunk stories, includes several examples of alternate technology adapted from real world history and Victorian scientific theory. The Galvanic Tech series seeks to investigate and expand upon these diversions.
Lucian Fiske’s Motor Car
“It was long and sleek, with a smooth charcoal body, reminding Bartleby of a torpedo.”
The first automobile we’ve seen in the series. Despite Jame’s interest, our characters don’t have much time to examine the vehicle, but James’s questions do reveal a few interesting points. He notes that the design has four wheels, implying that this is perhaps not a standard, and asks if it runs on petrol, steam, or electricity, and is answered that Fiske has a generator in the carport. Obviously, the Edwardians of this world have more options with their transportation than we were offered in our own.
In our world, the 19th century saw a number of competing designs from the 1870s on, though by the Edwardian era all but the petrol-driven vehicles had been marginalized. There were even attempts at the creation of hybrid steam-petrol engines. The fastest vehicles were steam powered, including the Stanley Steamer model cars, one of which set the land-speed record in 1906 with a 28.2 second mile. It took over a century for an automobile to break this record.
Lucian’s vehicle’s design is based loosely on the Stanley Rocket design, though with a galvanic power cell luxury design rather than the concept vehicle capable of 205 kph.
As the series timeline progresses, have no doubts that motor-cars will grow to be more prominent, just as they became so in the real world.