motive power

noun
1.
any power used to impart motion; any source of mechanical energy.
2.
Railroads. locomotives or other vehicles that supply tractive power.

Origin:
1615–25

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
motive power
 
n
1.  any source of energy used to produce motion
2.  the means of supplying power to an engine, vehicle, etc
3.  any driving force

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
There was virtually no mention of motive power for aircraft and ships, or how
  that transition would be made.
They're all perfectly capable of transforming electrons into motive power.
His characters are no longer gods, the motive power in his plots no longer
  divine.
The main motive power comes from two large batteries.
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