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Diesel-powered vehicles and no electricity

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So, there's that TV series "Revolution" where, for whatever reason, electricity doesn't work properly with machines anymore. I haven't watched the show particularly, but from what I gather, the only vehicles that work are ones where the occupants have some kind of MacGuffin that lets the electricity work in a small area.

I've been considering a Cummins swap into my '82 Dodge, and most people recommend the 12V for the ease of conversion. I looked a bit into the differences between the 12V and 24V, and the first things I found were all related to the fuel injection system, specifically the introduction of electronic stuff. That got me thinking about this TV show...

Would a 12V Cummins engine run, once started, without any electrical system whatsoever? If so, if such an engine were mated to either a manual transmission or to a fully-hydraulic automatic, the truck should theoretically move under its own power, even if things like lights and electric-draw power accessories don't function. Obviously starting such a truck would be a challenge and would probably require some kind of mechanical interface out the front or from a PTO to let a different machine initially spin the engine to start it.

It just got me thinking that between the diesel engine and the steam engine, the universe of that TV show left out rather important sources of mechanical power that would have let society fall no further than a nineteen-teens tech level as far as the ability to operate factories and otherwise continue production on some kinds of things. There wouldn't be a need to resort to the bow and arrow when more sophisticated weapons could be produced mechanically. Even many of our more sophisticated inventions like air conditioning are still mechanical in nature, and could be adapted to run in some fashion without electric current flowing through wires...
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