Pretty sure google guy said in the premiere that steam power didn't work. One would presume, since he is the scientist archetype for the show, that at some point over the past 15 years that he tested it.
I got the impression he's more of a "google geek,' and not really familiar with mechanical engineering.
Specialization today has made many brainy science guys good at one thing but not necessarily good at all science.
Can you think of anyone today that possesses even a fraction of Da Vinci's range in science?