Automobiles (from French automobile, a word meaning “self”) are vehicles that carry people on land, usually with four wheels and powered by an engine. They are primarily used for passenger transportation but may also be used to transport goods.
In modern times, the term “automobile” has become a general term for a self-propelled vehicle. It is the main form of transportation for many people in developed countries.
The automobile is a complex technical system consisting of thousands of subsystems and their related design functions. Its evolution from a simple horse-drawn carriage to its present form is attributed to many technological and social factors, including the development of gasoline internal combustion engines.
It has been estimated that there are 1.4 billion automobiles in operation worldwide, with about one-quarter of them in the United States. It is a significant contributor to the world economy, with a global value of $18 trillion in 2006.
An automobile is an essential part of modern life. Without it, luxuries such as the ability to travel long distances would not be possible.
Automobiles are categorized according to their design features, power output and fuel type. The two most popular types of automobiles are petrol and diesel-powered.
In the United States, steam and electric-powered automobiles competed for decades. Early steam cars were characterized by their simplicity, low costs, rapid acceleration, and good speed, but they were inefficient and difficult to maintain. During the 1910s, gasoline internal-combustion engines were established as the dominant power source for cars.
Gasoline internal-combustion engines were invented in the 1870s and 1880s by George Baldwin Selden of Rochester, New York. He applied for a patent for an automobile in 1877, but he did not build the car until 1905 due to a legal battle over the right to use his invention.
Unlike the steam engine, which was a simple device fueled by natural gas, the gasoline engine needed a complex system of combustion chambers and cylinder heads to achieve high performance. This required extensive knowledge of engineering and design.
The first automobile with a gasoline engine was designed in the United States in 1877 by George Baldwin Selden of Rochester, New Yor. In 1905, he sued Henry Ford for infringing his patent. The Supreme Court ruled that Ford was not liable for infringing Selden’s patent.
Although gasoline-powered autos have dominated the market in the United States, they still represent a small percentage of total vehicle sales. The primary reason for this is that gasoline is not a renewable resource, and there are only so many places to drill and store it.
If you are planning to buy a vehicle in 2023, it is important that you select a model that can meet your driving needs and lifestyle. For example, if you drive a lot, you should consider a hybrid. These are environmentally friendly vehicles, and they are not as expensive as pure EVs.