An automobile is a land vehicle with four or more wheels. The term “automobile” comes from the Latin word ‘automobilis’, meaning self-propelled. These vehicles are usually categorized into two main categories – passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Passenger cars are mainly used for personal and family transportation.
Modern automobiles are highly complex technical systems. They are made up of thousands of component parts. Their design depends on the intended use. Most modern automobiles use an internal combustion engine. This type of engine is commonly powered by gasoline, diesel or kerosene.
Modern automobiles are also equipped with emission-control and safety systems. In addition, automobile manufacturers hire scientists and engineers to help improve their performance. Today, 1.4 billion passenger cars are in operation worldwide. Automotive manufacturing in Europe and Asia soared in the post-World War II era. While the American automotive industry was weakened in the 1920s and 1930s, production re-emerged after World War II.
Automobiles were first created as bicycle-like contraptions during the mid-Victorian era. Bicycle builders such as Sylvester Howard Roper and Ernest Michaux developed similar machines in the 1870s. After a few decades, Karl Benz invented the modern gasoline-powered vehicle. He patented the Benz-Motorwagen in 1886.
Early models of an automobile were slow and unwieldy. They were also not very comfortable for passengers. However, after a few years, the demand for automobiles in the United States grew. It was during this time that the “Big Three” automakers-Ford, General Motors and Chrysler-became established. Ford sold most of its automobiles to the middle class in the U.S., allowing it to become one of the world’s largest automakers.
Cars can be divided into several categories based on their size and the number of passengers. Some examples of this are buses, minivans, vans and SUVs. There are many types of vehicles, such as limousines and ambulances. A few types of automobiles are designed to carry more than seven passengers.
Another important characteristic of automobiles is their ability to carry more people than a bicycle can. In addition, they are much faster than a bicycle and a train. Thus, the automobile is a lifeline for humanity. As a result of their popularity, they have a huge impact on our society. Even so, there are many accidents and damage caused by the vehicles. Moreover, the combined pollution from the world’s automobiles is a major factor in climate change.
For example, the Stout Scarab was a precursor to the modern minivan. Its rear-engine design facilitated the carrying of numerous passengers. Charles Duryea and his brother J. Frank were the first to produce the first cars for general use in the late nineteenth century.
Since the 1920s, the automotive industry in the United States has been characterized by the use of mass production. This allowed for lower prices. Henry Ford, for example, began selling the Model T in 1910. With mass production, autos became affordable to middle class families.
However, too many automobiles can lead to traffic congestion and air pollution. For this reason, more efficient engine and drivetrain performance is needed for automobiles that operate on limited-access road systems. Furthermore, automobiles for off-road use must be resistant to extreme operating conditions. Hence, their basic systems and design must be simple and durable.