I guess this is more of a question-suggestion then just a suggestion, pertaining to how engines and alternators currently work. Are they fine as is? If not, I have an idea. Is it an idea you agree with, or would you do it differently?
Currently, engines produce one set movement-power (I’ll call it HP), and use some power (battery power), and use a set amount of fuel. There’s variations on this, of course.
Currently, alternators debuff a set amount of power to the entire vehicle frame (not just the engine it’s connected to, unless I’m wrong here), and produce a set power to the batteries. They do this as long as the engine it’s connected to is on and active. (and in the case of foot pedals, in use.)
I suggest for engines, they be listed as having a range of fuel usage, and that they use fuel based on how heavy they’re being utilized. Their HP would also be a max estimate, and would have a cruise HP estimate as well. All engines would have a ‘cruise speed’ at which they’re producing the most efficient fuel for HP ratio. Below this, they’d be underproducing HP per low fuel and above this they’d be producing a lot of hp for a lot of fuel. (relatively speaking)
Foot pedals would use metabolism instead of fuel and strength instead of HP, but would work similarly otherwise.
I suggest for alternators that they care about how much HP is being produced, and that they are specific to the frame they’re on instead of being vehicle-wide. Instead of a set amount of power they decrease the engines by, they ‘eat’ HP from the specific engine they’re attached to as it runs into a capacitor during a turn grouping, and generates power from eating the HP by dumping the capacitor, with a minimum threshold based on the alternator. Motorbike alternators would have a really low threshold, so they’d be good for foot pedals and 1 cylinder engines, but they would have a really small capacitor, whereas a truck alternator would only be good for v6 and v8 engines because it would have a relatively high threshold but also a large capacitor. Higher capacitor means more energy generated on average per time unit grouping, provided an effluence of HP.
Any HP left over from being eaten by the capacitor during a time grouping would be used to provide movement power to the frame.