The History of Automobiles
Automobiles are a major part of our lives. They allow us to travel for work or pleasure quickly and conveniently. They also help to create new opportunities. However, cars can come with some drawbacks including pollution and increased energy consumption. In addition, there are a number of inconveniences like traffic and parking. The automotive industry is a highly competitive business, and manufacturers constantly strive to improve their vehicles in terms of performance, safety, and cost. Those improvements are the result of research and development. The branches of engineering that deal with the manufacture and technologies of automobiles are known as automobile engineering.
Modern automobiles are complex technical systems. They include subsystems with specific design functions such as braking, steering, and acceleration. Their components are made of metals, alloys, plastics, and other materials. The overall design of a vehicle depends on its intended use. For example, a vehicle for off-road use must be rugged and simple in design, while one designed for high-speed highway use requires advanced engine performance and passenger comfort options.
The first automobiles were developed in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, and Nicolaus Otto. By the 1920s, automobiles had become the backbone of a consumer goods-oriented society. In the United States, Ford was the dominant producer of the time. Its patented Model T was the first mass-produced car that was affordable to middle-class families. It competed with other manufacturers such as Ransom E. Olds who produced the one-cylinder, three-horsepower Oldsmobile. Although the Model T had many shortcomings, it paved the way for future automobile innovations and technological developments.
By the 1940s, the American automobile industry became a key contributor to the war effort. It turned out several million military vehicles and also made critical ancillary supplies such as steel, petroleum products, and chemicals. During the war automobile production grew dramatically and the industry was reshaped by changes in the economy, demographics, and government regulations. After the war automobiles remained an important industry, but the industry experienced some problems including nonfunctional styling and quality issues, escalating gasoline prices, and concerns about the draining of the world’s oil reserves. The market for the automobile shifted to foreign models such as the German Volkswagen Beetle and Japanese fuel-efficient, functionally designed, well-built small cars.
Pros: Having a car allows you to go where you want when you want without having to depend on public transportation. You can have more freedom and can visit places you wouldn’t have been able to before. You can also go to different cities and live farther away from your job. Buying a car can increase your credit score and make it easier to buy a home or other large purchases.
Cons: Most automobiles run on gasoline, which produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. In addition, people who own cars are responsible for 27 percent of the nation’s air pollution. If you own a car, it’s important to keep it maintained so that you can reduce the environmental impact.