The Evolution of Automobiles

The Evolution of Automobiles


The automobile is a complex machine with many different systems that work together to drive and control the vehicle. The heart of the automobile is the engine that converts fuel into mechanical energy to turn the wheels and power electrical systems. Other important parts of the automobile are the chassis, suspension, body and electrical equipment. The automobile was first perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such inventors as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, and Nicolaus Otto.

The automobile has had a profound impact on the world. It has increased individual freedom because people can travel when and where they wish without needing to rely on schedules set by trains or buses. The car has also brought new jobs for thousands of workers in factories that produce cars and at gas stations, restaurants and motels where travelers stop. On the downside, the automobile has contributed to the deaths of millions of people in traffic accidents and has polluted the environment with air pollution and a drain on the world’s dwindling oil supply.

During the twentieth century the automobile became increasingly complex in terms of engineering and production technology. During the 1920s and 1930s, manufacturers developed new features such as automatic transmissions and hydraulic brakes. They also increased the size of cars to accommodate a growing number of passengers. In addition, the development of mass production techniques made it possible to manufacture cars at reasonable prices. Ford’s use of these production methods was a milestone in the history of the automobile.

After World War II production of cars slowed, but manufacturers continued to add more comfort and convenience features. In the 1950s and 1960s, larger, fuel-consuming cars dominated the market. These vehicles used up large amounts of gasoline, which was relatively cheap at the time. In the 1970s, oil prices rose as a result of political conflicts in the Middle East and cars began to be produced that were more fuel-efficient.

Automobiles are now being replaced by more advanced vehicles that are safer and more environmentally friendly. Some of these vehicles have already been tested on the highways and are expected to be commercially available soon. Others are being developed for use in cities and will be powered by hydrogen, electricity or natural gas. The automobile is entering a new phase as the Age of the Automobile merges with the Age of Electronics.

The era of the annually restyled road cruiser has ended, however. With federal standards for safety and emission of pollutants becoming mandatory, and escalating petroleum prices following the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, consumers no longer favor fat-burning engines, high-speed engines and cars with dazzling paint jobs.

The future for automobiles is uncertain. While the car is still the most popular mode of transportation worldwide, the environmental costs of its operation are increasingly apparent. The world is shifting to alternative forms of transport, such as rail and bicycles. As a result, the automobile will be faced with new challenges that may eventually make it obsolete.