Usually, an automobile is a land vehicle that can carry people, cargo, and goods. The word automobile comes from the Greek prefix auto, meaning “moving”. It is the most important form of transportation in modern society. The automobile plays a vital role in the economic growth of the society.
Automobiles are highly technical systems and have thousands of parts. The main components of an automobile include a body, engine, and transmission. The design of the automobile depends on its intended use and location. Most automobiles have a roof to protect passengers and cargo from weather.
Automobiles can be categorized by size and type. There are two-wheeled, three-wheeled, four-wheeled, and six-wheeled cars. Some automobiles can be convertibles. A convertible is a car that can be opened up so that the driver can drive it in the open air. A convertible car is also known as a roadster. These cars are usually sportier.
The modern automobile began with the invention of the internal combustion engine. This engine was developed by German industrialist Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler and his partner Karl Maybach. It was an improvement on an engine created by French engineer Etienne Lenoir. The engine used a mixture of kerosene and gasoline, which was ignited in an explosion. The fuel explosion pushed a piston down, which turned the wheels.
The first automobiles were bicycle-like contraptions. They were created in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Bicycle builder Sylvester Howard Roper and Ernest Michaux both designed similar contraptions during the mid-Victorian era. The first commercially available three-wheeler was made by Edward Butler in 1884.
The modern automobile has developed from the advances in existing technology and safety legislation. Its subsystems have grown from competition among manufacturers throughout the world. Manufacturers have been able to break the market into smaller segments and create new designs more frequently. Modern automobiles are equipped with safety features, such as airbags and seat belts. Modern automobiles are also more environmentally friendly than their predecessors. Many automobiles also use renewable energy sources.
The automobile became the standard of transportation in the United States. It was cheaper and more durable than the bicycle. In addition, the automobile was faster than walking. The higher per capita income in the United States also helped increase the demand for automobiles.
After World War II, the automobile industry began to rebound. The manufacturing tradition in the United States made automobiles affordable for middle-class families. By the late 20th century, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler were the “Big Three” automakers. Automobile production increased significantly in Europe and Japan.
After World War II, the automobile became a global industry. Automobile manufacturers improved their body, chassis, and control systems. Their products also improved their safety systems. Automobiles were faster than trains and buses, and they could carry large numbers of passengers. Automobiles were also cheaper, because manufacturers could make many models in a short period of time.
Nowadays, the automobile is used by almost everyone. Approximately 70 million passenger cars are produced worldwide each year. In the United States, the average person travels approximately three trillion miles each year. The automobile industry is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution. The combined pollution of the world’s automobiles is contributing to climate change.