Automobiles are a type of vehicle that can be powered by either an internal combustion engine or an electric motor. They are used for passenger and cargo transportation. Automobiles are usually four-wheeled vehicles, although they can be built with three or five seats.
In the United States, the automotive industry grew during the first half of the twentieth century. The industry was dominated by the “Big Three” automakers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. After World War II, automobile production exploded in Europe and Japan. It is estimated that by 2020, the automobile industry in China will produce more than seven million cars.
Automakers in the US started producing affordable models in 1901, when Ransom Olds started a car factory in Lansing, Michigan. Cars were introduced to the European market in the late 1800s. By the end of the 1900s, 485 companies had entered the motor vehicle business.
A number of pioneers were responsible for developing the modern automobile. German innovator Karl Benz was one of the most important. He developed the first automobile. Benz received a patent for his Motorwagen on January 29, 1886.
Other significant pioneers of the automobile were Nicolaus Otto and Emile Levassor. These two French engineers were among the first to build a true self-propelled road vehicle.
Automobiles were designed to be a replacement for horse-drawn carriages. By the 1950s, they were an essential part of the economy in developed nations. Vehicles were also created to meet special needs, such as ambulances.
During the 1920s, the American automobile industry became the largest in the world. During this time, American manufacturers were able to lower their prices by using the moving assembly line. Manufacturing was standardized and a standard design and advertising were established.
One of the most important parts of an automobile is its engine. Most automobiles have an internal combustion engine. However, a battery-powered electric car is also popular, although its range is limited.
Another important component of an automobile is the chassis. A traditional chassis has the body attached to the chassis before the engine is built. A more modern approach involves an integral chassis, where the body is an integral part of the engine.
Among the most important engines are the gasoline engine and the electric motor. Both have different advantages and disadvantages. Gasoline engines are more economical than battery-powered vehicles. Electric vehicles are relatively inexpensive, but they have limited range.
In addition to gasoline and electric automobiles, automobiles are produced in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and styles. They are most commonly equipped with four or five seats, but some are capable of carrying up to seven passengers.
An important aspect of automobiles is their ability to carry cargo. Many vehicles have a combination of front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. While front-wheel drive cars are considered more practical, rear-wheel drive vehicles are easier to tow.
In addition to automobiles, many other types of motorized vehicles have been developed, including motorcycles. Motorcycles are smaller and easier to maintain.