Few inventions have had the impact on human society and global environment that the automobile has had. With over 1.4 billion cars currently in operation worldwide, the automobile is the most widely used form of personal transportation in history.
Almost any wheeled vehicle that can carry passengers and is powered by an engine may be considered an automobile. The modern automobile is a complex technical system containing many subsystems, each with its own design function. These include the power plant (gasoline, diesel or electric), transmission, chassis, braking system, wheels and tires, and body. The automobile industry is a global business that relies on continuous technological innovation.
The earliest automobiles were powered by steam, electricity or animal muscles. Gasoline internal combustion engines eventually gained dominance over the other types of automobiles. The development of new technologies such as the Carnot cycle, cylinder head and spark plug allowed gasoline to become a major automotive fuel. The automobile was a critical factor in the American economic boom of the 1920s. The American manufacturing tradition and abundant supplies of cheap raw materials allowed the United States to produce and sell automobiles at prices much lower than those in Europe.
Modern automobiles use a variety of fuel sources, including gasoline, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and electric power. Some hybrid and all-electric vehicles are powered by renewable energy sources such as solar or wind.
Automobiles have played a significant role in the growth and development of many countries, and have had a profound effect on the world’s culture and lifestyles. They have reshaped cities and suburbs, encouraged sprawling low-density development that degrades the environment, and contributed to traffic congestion and pollution. At the same time, the automobile has enabled individuals to achieve great freedom of movement and have restructured the distribution of goods in industrialized societies.
OPENS UP THE WORLD
Having your own car means that you can travel long distances quickly and easily. This freedom enables you to find more work opportunities and expand your social circle. It also allows you to visit family and friends at a moment’s notice.
Being able to go from one end of town to the other saves you valuable time. It means that you can spend more time with your loved ones or even take a day off for fun activities.
One of the most exciting times in the history of the automobile was when women started to drive. In 1916, two women – Nell Richardson and Alice Burke – made a pretty bold car trip across America to advocate for women’s right to vote. They decorated their cars with “votes for women” banners and gave speeches in the towns they visited. This was a very risky thing to do for these women back then but it was an important way for them to show their strength and identity. They were breaking through the stereotype of women being weak and timid. Their journey is still remembered today.