Automobiles are one of the most universal of modern technologies. They are manufactured by one of the world’s largest industries and have become an essential part of our society, enabling us to live our lives with freedom and convenience.
An automobile is a four-wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting people on land. It typically consists of four wheels and an internal combustion engine, fueled most often by gasoline (a liquid petroleum product). The word automobile is derived from the Latin automobilia, which means “moving carriage”.
Early automobiles were handcrafted, and often customized for the buyer. By the late 1800s, however, factories were able to produce cars in large numbers using automated production techniques. This revolutionized the automotive industry and made it more affordable for more people to own their own car.
Invented in Germany and France, the automobile was first perfected around 1885 by Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and others. Benz built and patented a four-stroke internal combustion engine to power his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. He then developed an accelerator for speed regulation, a battery ignition system, a spark plug, a clutch and gear shifts.
The automobile is a complex technical system, consisting of thousands of component parts that are designed to function in specific ways. The major subsystems include the engine, transmission, suspension and body of the vehicle.
In addition, there are other components such as controls and auxiliaries. These are also important for the comfort of the user and for controlling the movement of the vehicle.
Today’s vehicles use advanced technology to improve fuel economy, increase safety and reduce emissions of pollutants. Some are also hybrids, combining an internal combustion engine with an electric motor.
Many modern cars can be driven on electric power alone for short distances. The vehicle can then be recharged by the gasoline engine.
This type of automobile is gaining popularity because it is an environmentally friendly option. It can save money on gasoline and emissions, while still offering the same level of convenience as an internal combustion engine powered car.
An automobile may be powered by a gasoline, diesel, or propane gas fuel system. The choice of fuel depends on the size of the engine, and it also influences the weight distribution of the vehicle.
A gas-electric hybrid is a vehicle that has both a conventional gasoline engine and an electrically charged lithium-ion battery. The hybrid drives most of the time, with the engine recharging the batteries when necessary.
The automotive industry is a large and profitable industry. Its economic impact on the United States and Europe has been significant.
As of 2017, there were 73 million new automobiles produced worldwide. This number is expected to grow in the coming years, as more and more countries develop their own manufacturing industries.
In the United States, automobile manufacturing has been a significant part of the national economy for more than a century. The country’s vast land area and a strong tradition of industrial production encouraged the development of an automotive industry. Moreover, the availability of cheap raw materials and a chronic shortage of skilled labor ensured that American manufacturers could sell their products at lower prices than their European competitors.