The History of Automobiles


Automobiles are a major part of the modern economy. Over 4.25 million people work in auto manufacturing worldwide. The automobile has also transformed society. It is now possible to travel a long distance in relative comfort and speed, and leisure travel is now an option for common people. Many people have a car of their own and don’t rely on public transport, thereby increasing their independence. In addition, owning a car can be a lot cheaper than taking taxis and buses.

The history of automobiles is a long one, and they are now an integral part of our lives. The first automobile was built in the late 1800s, by German inventor Carl Benz. These early cars used an internal combustion engine and ran on gas. Over the next century, the automotive industry developed dramatically. By the end of World War II, car production reached nearly a fifth of the United States’ total output. Automobiles were also becoming popular in other parts of the world.

During the mid-19th century, manufacturers produced automobiles that were run by steam and electric power. Steam-powered cars were heavy, sprang leaks and had to be brought to a boil before they could move. Electric cars were easier to operate but they had a limited range and required lengthy recharging periods.

In the 1900s, Ford introduced a car that used an assembly line and made it affordable for the average American. As the production of cars accelerated, more features were added to make them more comfortable, including heaters and air conditioning. In the 1960s, concerns arose about the environmental costs of automobiles; questions surfaced about their pollution and their draining of dwindling world oil reserves. In response to these issues, the market shifted to compact fuel-efficient cars from Germany and Japan.

There are a wide variety of vehicles on the road today, including passenger (cars, buses), cargo and special (crane, mobile crane, fire, sanitary and infantry fighting vehicles). The most common type is the sedan, which has four doors and is usually equipped with a trunk. A coupe is similar, but it has two doors. Other types include the station wagon, which has a trunk and five or more seats; and the convertible, which is easy to open or close and has no trunk.

Regardless of which vehicle is chosen, drivers need to understand the basic mechanics of how a car works. Most cars burn a liquid fuel to power an internal combustion engine, which in turn powers the wheels via a transmission system. The engine’s power is controlled by a series of gears, and the transmission system allows the driver to change gears in order to achieve different driving conditions. The transmission system also includes a parking brake and reverse gear, which are used to park the car or back into a space. There are a number of safety devices in most cars, such as seat belts and airbags. Depending on the type of vehicle, other features may be included, such as a stereo system and air conditioning.