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(This will probably be an easy one...)

What can accelerate a car fairly quickly, using only 10 watts?

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It might also be Mr. Rasmussen,

who founded the factory making the DKW cars and motorcycles.

They were accelerating pretty quickly (by that time's standards anyway), and although they certainly used more than 10 watts of power,

at the time (well before the 1960s when "da" became the standardised symbol for the prefix "deca-"), the abbreviation for "ten watts" would have been dkW.

EDIT: Oh, I may have figured out OP's original idea. Is it maybe

Traffic lights? The green one (and also the yellow one immediately before the red) tends to cause a lot of car acceleration. According to one source I found, the modern traffic signals use LEDs with a combined power of 10W to 25W.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it's the EDIT answer. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Schepler Jun 11 '18 at 20:37
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Is it...

your foot, pressing down on the gas pedal (which likely uses much less than 10 watts of mechanical power).

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  • $\begingroup$ Not quite the answer I was thinking of... $\endgroup$ – Daniel Schepler Jun 11 '18 at 18:46
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Answer

Gravity. If you push a car off a cliff, it'll accelerate at 9.81 m/s^2, and that doesn't take any watts.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... Nice answer, but not what I was thinking of... $\endgroup$ – Daniel Schepler Jun 11 '18 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Well, it was worth a shot, and it's true too. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 11 '18 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ Given that acceleration is proportional to force, and work (imparted energy) equals force times the distance moved, there are quite a lot of watts at play in this scenario, actually. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jun 11 '18 at 19:53

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