The History of Automobiles


Whether you’re looking for a family sedan with room for five or a sporty hatchback that can go from 0-60 mph in three seconds, there are plenty of options available. The best new cars have more power, better fuel economy, more advanced technology, and safer occupants than ever before.

Often called simply “cars,” automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles designed to transport people. They are usually propelled by an internal-combustion engine that uses a volatile fuel to ignite and propel the car forward. Modern cars are complex technical systems, with subsystems that have specific design functions. They include a body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, suspension, and braking system. The subsystems are built from materials such as high-strength steels and plastics, and controlled by electronic computers.

The history of automobiles is a fascinating one, with numerous significant events and significant problems associated with their use. Some of the most important developments are:

The first modern automobiles were powered by steam, electric power, or gasoline engines. The most widely used were gasoline-powered. Karl Benz is generally given credit for inventing the modern automobile by using a four-stroke internal combustion engine in his Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1885/86. The automobile ushered in an era of increased freedom of movement for people and changed the way that they lived. It stimulated the development of industries like rubber and petroleum, and businesses such as gas stations and convenience stores. It also caused problems such as air pollution and traffic congestion.

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