Automobiles are the main means of transportation in most countries. A car makes it easy for people to juggle work, family, and social commitments. The automobile is a complex technical system that requires many components to work correctly. A vehicle’s engine uses heat to make gasoline turn into mechanical work, or torque, that drives the wheels of the car. The automobile has evolved over the years and now combines advanced electronics with improved safety features. The automobile industry is one of the most important in the world. The building blocks of the modern automobile go back several hundred years, when Leonardo da Vinci created designs and models for transport vehicles. Karl Benz, an engineer from Germany, is generally given credit for inventing the first true automobile in 1885 or 1886.
In the United States, mass production made it possible to sell the automobile for a much lower price than in Europe and Japan. In addition, the country’s vast land area and high per capita income encouraged a great demand for automotive transportation. New jobs and industries were established to produce the parts, tools, fuel and services for cars. As automobiles became more affordable, people could afford to commute farther and more often.
The most common way to power a car is by internal combustion. Most automobiles use a four-stroke internal combustion engine that burns gasoline, diesel or other liquid fuel to create heat and pressure that moves a piston down and turns the wheels of the car. Depending on the fuel used, the engine may also emit nitrous oxides or carbon monoxide. The exhaust from these engines produces air pollution and is responsible for global climate change. In addition, the exhaust from an automobile can damage a person’s health and even kill him.
Almost all automobiles have a transmission to convert the crankshaft’s mechanical energy into electrical power to turn the wheels. The transmission also has a gear system to control the speed and direction of the car’s wheels. Some automobiles have a second transmission to drive the wheels of a rear-wheel drive car.
A car’s body can be in many different shapes and sizes. A sedan, for example, is a long, four-door passenger car with room for several passengers. Wagons are similar to sedans, but they have a larger cargo space in the back. Pickup trucks, minivans and vans are large box-shaped automobiles that can carry lots of passengers and cargo.
A new automobile is a complex technical system, but its basic function is to take people from place to place. When too many automobiles try to get to the same place at the same time, traffic jams occur. Public transportation systems, such as buses and trains, help reduce the number of automobiles on the road. This can reduce air pollution and traffic congestion and increase the speed of travel for those who choose to use public transportation. It is also less expensive than owning and maintaining a vehicle.