Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles designed primarily for passenger transportation and propelled by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. Modern automobiles are complex technical systems, and their design depends on a variety of factors including environmental concerns, economic demands, performance standards and safety regulations. They are often assembled in large factories as a complete vehicle, and they may have one to seven seats. The majority of cars are manufactured for use as passenger vehicles, although cargo and utility vehicles also exist.
There are over 1.4 billion passenger cars in operation worldwide, and almost 70 million new ones are built each year. Cars have revolutionized the way we live, and they have made it possible for people to travel long distances in a relatively short amount of time. They have also changed the economy and influenced business in ways that were unimaginable when they first came into use. Many people would argue that our culture wouldn’t exist without the automobile. However, the invention of the automobile is not without its drawbacks.
In the late 1800s, inventors began to experiment with internal combustion engines in their vehicles. Frenchman Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville and Leon Malandin installed an engine in a tricycle and patented it in 1883, but the vehicle broke apart during its first test run and was literally “shaken to pieces.” In 1892, Rudolf Diesel got a patent for a new type of internal combustion engine that used a mixture of oil and coal to produce power. While this was not as efficient as a gasoline engine, it was far more reliable than the two-stroke engines used at that time.
The development of the modern automobile was greatly accelerated by the work of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in Germany. Benz improved on the Otto gasoline engine and adapted it to his Benz Motorwagen, which was patented in Mannheim on 29 January 1886. This was the first automobile that was designed and built as such rather than a converted carriage or boat.
Modern vehicles have become very complex in their design, and their construction requires high-quality materials. Increasingly, cars are being manufactured with high-strength plastics and alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. In addition, the weight and mass of the vehicle are important considerations, as is its center of gravity and the location of its engine in relation to the weight of the vehicle. Stability also depends on a number of factors, including the distribution of weight between front and rear wheels, the height of the centre of gravity, and the selection of which wheels are used for driving.