HOME
TheInfoList



A car (or automobile) is a wheeled
motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a s ...
used for
transportation Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another. In other words, the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of an organism ...

transportation
. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four
wheels File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood In its primitive form, a wheel is a circular block of a hard and durable material at whose center has been bored a hole through which is placed an axle bearing about which t ...
, and mainly transport people rather than goods. Cars came into global use during the 20th century, and
developed economies In the economic study of the public sector, economic and social development is the process by which the economic well-being and quality of life of a nation, region, local community, or an individual are improved according to targeted goals and obj ...
depend on them. The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor
Karl Benz Carl Friedrich Benz (; 25 November 1844 – 4 April 1929), sometimes also Karl Friedrich Benz, was a German engine designer and automotive engineer. His Benz Patent Motorcar from 1885 is considered the first practical automobile put into series p ...
patented his
Benz Patent-Motorwagen The Benz Patent-Motorwagen ("patent motorcar"), built in 1885 by Carl Benz, is widely regarded as the world's first production automobile; that is, a self-propelled vehicle for carrying people. The original cost of the vehicle in 1885 was 600 im ...
. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908
Model T The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the "tin Lizzie", "leaping Lena", "jitney" or "flivver") is an automobile produced by Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, ...
, an American car manufactured by the
Ford Motor Company The Ford Motor Company, commonly known as Ford, is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sell ...
. Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn
carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly horse-drawn. Second-hand private carriages were common public transport, the equivalent of modern cars used as taxis. Carriage suspensions are by leather strapping a ...
s and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world. Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort, and a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them progressively more complex, but also more reliable and easier to operate. These include rear-reversing cameras,
air conditioning Air conditioning (also A/C, air conditioner) is the process of removing heat and controlling the humidity as well as removing dust in some cases of the air within a building or vehicle to achieve a more comfortable interior environment. This ma ...
, navigation systems, and
in-car entertainment In-car entertainment (ICE), or in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), is a collection of hardware and software in automobiles that provides audio or video entertainment. In car entertainment originated with car audio systems that consisted of radios and cas ...
. Most cars in use in the 2010s are propelled by an
internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, t ...
, fueled by the
combustion Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction between a fuel (the reductant) and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxygen, that produces oxidized, often gaseous products, in a mixture termed as smoke. Combustion ...
of
fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a fuel formed by natural processes, such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, containing organic molecules originating in ancient photosynthesis that release energy in combustion.Schmidt-Rohr, K. (2015). "Why C ...
s.
Electric car An electric car is a car that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric cars are quieter, have no exhaust emissions, and lower em ...
s, which were invented early in the history of the car, became commercially available in the 2000s and are predicted to cost less to buy than gasoline cars before 2025. The transition from fossil fuels to electric cars features prominently in most
climate change mitigation scenarios Climate change mitigation scenarios are possible futures in which global warming is reduced by deliberate actions, such as a comprehensive switch to energy sources other than fossil fuels. These are actions that minimize emissions so atmospheric gr ...
, such as
Project Drawdown Climate drawdown is the point at which greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere level off and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Drawdown is a milestone in reversing climate change, and eventually reducing global average temperatures. ...
's 100 actionable solutions for climate change. There are costs and benefits to car use. The costs to the individual include acquiring the vehicle, interest payments (if the car is financed), repairs and
maintenance Maintenance may refer to: Biological science * Maintenance of an organism * Maintenance respiration Non-technical maintenance * Alimony, also called ''maintenance'' in British English * Champerty and maintenance, two related legal doctrines * ...
, fuel,
depreciation In accountancy, depreciation refers to two aspects of the same concept: first, the actual decrease of fair value of an asset, such as the decrease in value of factory equipment each year as it is used and wears, and second, the allocation in ac ...
, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance. The costs to society include maintaining roads,
land use caused by numerous roads near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields ...
, road congestion,
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, such as gases (such as a ...
,
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease”, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), communities and individ ...
, healthcare, and disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life.
Traffic collisions A traffic collision, also called a motor vehicle collision, car accident, or car crash, occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction, such as a tree, pole or building. Tra ...
are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide. The personal benefits include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence, and convenience. The societal benefits include economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from the
automotive industry The automotive industry comprises a wide range of companies and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles. It is one of the world's largest industries by revenue. The automotive indu ...
, transportation provision, societal well-being from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the
taxes A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures. A failure to pay, along ...
. People's ability to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies. There are around 1 billion cars in use worldwide. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million m ...
,
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Oce ...
and other
newly industrialized countries The category of newly industrialized country (NIC), newly industrialized economy (NIE) or middle income country is a socioeconomic classification applied to several countries around the world by political scientists and economists. They represen ...
.


Etymology

The
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...

English
word ''car'' is believed to originate from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
/ "wheeled vehicle" or (via Old North French)
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarly ...
''carre'' "two-wheeled cart," both of which in turn derive from
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire. In the narrow sense, Gaulish was the language spoken by the Celtic inhabitants of Gaul (modern-day France, Lu ...
''karros'' "
chariot 250px, Approximate historical map of the spread of the spoke-wheeled chariot, 2000–500 BC. A chariot is a type of carriage driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in b ...
." It originally referred to any wheeled
horse-drawn vehicle A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels and were used to carry passengers and/or a load. They were once common worldwide, but they have mos ...
, such as a
cart A cart or dray (Aus. & NZ) is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people. It is different from the flatbed trolley also known ...
,
carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly horse-drawn. Second-hand private carriages were common public transport, the equivalent of modern cars used as taxis. Carriage suspensions are by leather strapping a ...
, or
wagon A wagon or waggon is a heavy four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draught animals or on occasion by humans, used for transporting goods, commodities, agricultural materials, supplies and sometimes people. Wagons are immediately distinguished from ca ...
. "Motor car," attested from 1895, is the usual formal term in
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective ''wee'' is almost exclusively use ...
. "Autocar," a variant likewise attested from 1895 and literally meaning " self-propelled car," is now considered archaic. "
Horseless carriage 240px, ''L'Obéissante'' Horseless carriage is an early name for the motor car or automobile. Prior to the invention of the motor car, carriages were usually pulled by animals, typically horses. The term can be compared to other transitional terms, ...
" is attested from 1895. "Automobile," a
classical compound Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
derived from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages (), the Archaic period ...
''autós'' (αὐτός) "self" and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
''mobilis'' "movable," entered English from
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France ** French language, a French language which originated in France, and its various dialects ** French people, a nation and ethnic group identified with Fr ...
and was first adopted by the
Automobile Club of Great Britain The Royal Automobile Club is a British private social and athletic club that is not to be confused with RAC Limited, an automotive services company, which it formerly owned. It has two clubhouses: one in London at 89 Pall Mall, and the other i ...

Automobile Club of Great Britain
in 1897. It fell out of favour in Britain and is now used chiefly in
North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...
, where the abbreviated form "auto" commonly appears as an adjective in compound formations like "
auto industry The automotive industry comprises a wide range of companies and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles. It is one of the world's largest industries by revenue. The automotive indu ...
" and "
auto mechanic Auto may refer to: * An automaton * An automobile * An autonomous car * An auto rickshaw * Short for automatic * Auto (art), a form of Portuguese dramatic play * ''Auto'' (film), 2007 Tamil comedy film * Auto (play), a subgenre of dramatic literat ...

auto mechanic
". Both forms are still used in everyday
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * D ...
(''auto''/''automobiel'') and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language * Germanic peoples * Ger ...
(''Auto''/''Automobil'').


History

The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed—and quite possibly built—by
Ferdinand Verbiest Father Ferdinand Verbiest (9 October 1623 – 28 January 1688) was a Flemish Jesuit missionary in China during the Qing dynasty. He was born in Pittem near Tielt in the County of Flanders (now part of Belgium). He is known as Nan Huairen () in Chin ...
, a
Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Southern Dutch (). Flemish is native to Flanders, a historical region in northern Belgium; i ...
member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a -long scale-model toy for the
Kangxi Emperor The Kangxi Emperor (5 February 1654– 20 December 1722), personal name Xuanye, was the third Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The Kangxi Emperor's reign of 61 years (from 1661 until 1722) m ...

Kangxi Emperor
that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger. – Note that the vehicle pictured is the 20th century diecast model made by Brumm, of a later vehicle, not a model based on Verbiest's plans. It is not known with certainty if Verbiest's model was successfully built or run.
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (26 February 1725 – 2 October 1804) was a French inventor who built the world's first full-size and working self-propelled mechanical land-vehicle, the "Fardier à vapeur" — effectively the world's first automobile. Bac ...
is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or car in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle. He also constructed two steam tractors for the French Army, one of which is preserved in the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.Encyclopædia Britannica His inventions were, however, handicapped by problems with water supply and maintaining steam pressure. In 1801,
Richard Trevithick Richard Trevithick (13 April 1771 – 22 April 1833) was a British inventor and mining engineer from Cornwall, UK. The son of a mining captain, and born in the mining heartland of Cornwall, Trevithick was immersed in mining and engineering from a ...
built and demonstrated his
Puffing Devil Richard Trevithick (13 April 1771 – 22 April 1833) was a British inventor and mining engineer from Cornwall, UK. The son of a mining captain, and born in the mining heartland of Cornwall, Trevithick was immersed in mining and engineering from a ...
road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. It was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods and was of little practical use. The development of external combustion engines is detailed as part of the history of the car but often treated separately from the development of true cars. A variety of steam-powered road vehicles were used during the first part of the 19th century, including
steam car A steam car is a car (automobile) propelled by a steam engine. A steam engine is an external combustion engine (ECE) in which the fuel is combusted outside of the engine, unlike an internal combustion engine (ICE) in which fuel is combusted insid ...
s,
steam bus A steam bus is a bus powered by a steam engine. Early steam-powered vehicles designed for carrying passengers were more usually known as steam carriages, although this term was sometimes used to describe other early experimental vehicles too. Hi ...
es, phaetons, and
steam roller A steamroller (or steam roller) is a form of road roller – a type of heavy construction machinery used for leveling surfaces, such as roads or airfields – that is powered by a steam engine. The levelling/flattening action is achieved through ...
s. Sentiment against them led to the
Locomotive Acts The Locomotive Acts (or Red Flag Acts) were a series of Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom regulating the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on British public highways during the latter part of the 19th century. The first three, The Loc ...
of 1865. In 1807,
Nicéphore Niépce Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (; 7 March 1765 – 5 July 1833), commonly known or referred to simply as Nicéphore Niépce, was a French inventor, usually credited as the inventor of photography and a pioneer in that field. Niépce developed heliogra ...
and his brother Claude created what was probably the world's first
internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, t ...
(which they called a
Pyréolophore The Pyréolophore () was one of the world's first internal combustion engines. It was invented in the early 19th century in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, by the Niépce brothers: Nicéphore (who went on to invent photography) and Claude. In 1807 the ...
), but they chose to install it in a boat on the river Saone in France. Coincidentally, in 1807 the Swiss inventor
François Isaac de Rivaz François Isaac de Rivaz (Paris, December 19, 1752 – Sion, July 30, 1828) was an inventor and a politician. He invented a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine with electric ignition and described it in a French patent published in 1807 ...
designed his own ' de Rivaz internal combustion engine' and used it to develop the world's first vehicle to be powered by such an engine. The Niépces' Pyréolophore was fuelled by a mixture of
Lycopodium powder Lycopodium powder is a yellow-tan dust-like powder, consisting of the dry spores of clubmoss plants, or various fern relatives. When it is mixed with air, the spores are highly flammable and are used to create dust explosions as theatrical specia ...
(dried spores of the
Lycopodium ''Lycopodium'' (from Greek ''lukos'', wolf and ''podion'', diminutive of ''pous'', foot) is a genus of clubmosses, also known as ground pines or creeping cedars, in the family Lycopodiaceae. Two very different circumscriptions of the genus are in ...
plant), finely crushed coal dust and resin that were mixed with oil, whereas de Rivaz used a mixture of
hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. With a standard atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constitut ...

hydrogen
and
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen group in the periodic table, a highly reactive nonmetal, and an oxidizing agent that readily forms oxides with most elements as well a ...
. Neither design was very successful, as was the case with others, such as Samuel Brown,
Samuel Morey Samuel Morey (October 23, 1762 – April 17, 1843) was an American inventor, who worked on early internal combustion engines and was a pioneer in steamships who accumulated a total of 20 patents. Early life The son of a Revolutionary War Officer. ...
, and Etienne Lenoir with his hippomobile, who each produced vehicles (usually adapted carriages or carts) powered by internal combustion engines. In November 1881, French inventor
Gustave Trouvé Gustave Pierre Trouvé (2 January 1839 – 27 July 1902) was a French electrical engineer and inventor in the 19th century. Trouvé was born on 2 January 1839 in La Haye-Descartes (Indre-et-Loire, France) and died on 27 July 1902 in Paris. A polyma ...
demonstrated the first working (three-wheeled) car powered by electricity at the
International Exposition of Electricity, Paris The first International Exposition of Electricity in Paris ran from August 15, 1881 through to November 15, 1881 at the Palais de l'Industrie on the Champs-Élysées. It served to display the advances in electrical technology since the small electr ...
. Although several other German engineers (including
Gottlieb Daimler Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler (; 17 March 1834 – 6 March 1900) was a German engineer, industrial designer and industrialist born in Schorndorf (Kingdom of Württemberg, a federal state of the German Confederation), in what is now Germany. He was a p ...
,
Wilhelm Maybach (; 9 February 1846 – 29 December 1929) was an early German engine designer and industrialist. During the 1890s he was hailed in France, then the world centre for car production, as the "King of Designers". From the late 19th century Wilhelm Ma ...
, and
Siegfried Marcus Siegfried Samuel Marcus (; 18 September 1831 – 1 July 1898) was a German inventor. Marcus was born of Jewish descent in Malchin, in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He made several petrol-powered vehicles, the first one in 1864, ...
) were working on the problem at about the same time,
Karl Benz Carl Friedrich Benz (; 25 November 1844 – 4 April 1929), sometimes also Karl Friedrich Benz, was a German engine designer and automotive engineer. His Benz Patent Motorcar from 1885 is considered the first practical automobile put into series p ...
generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern car. In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878. Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle. His first '' Motorwagen'' was built in 1885 in
Mannheim Mannheim (; Palatine German: or ), officially the University City of Mannheim (german: Universitätsstadt Mannheim), is the second-largest city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart, and Germany's 21st-largest city, with a ...
, Germany. He was awarded the patent for its invention as of his application on 29 January 1886 (under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883). Benz began promotion of the vehicle on 3 July 1886, and about 25 Benz vehicles were sold between 1888 and 1893, when his first four-wheeler was introduced along with a cheaper model. They also were powered with
four-stroke A four-stroke (also four-cycle) engine is an internal combustion (IC) engine in which the piston completes four separate strokes while turning the crankshaft. A stroke refers to the full travel of the piston along the cylinder, in either direction ...
engines of his own design. Emile Roger of France, already producing Benz engines under license, now added the Benz car to his line of products. Because France was more open to the early cars, initially more were built and sold in France through Roger than Benz sold in Germany. In August 1888
Bertha Benz Bertha Benz (, ; 3 May 1849 – 5 May 1944) was a German automotive pioneer and inventor. She was the business partner and wife of automobile inventor Karl Benz. On 5 August 1888, she was the first person to drive an automobile over a long distance ...
, the wife of Karl Benz, undertook the first
road trip A road trip, sometimes spelled roadtrip, is a long-distance journey on the road. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile. History First road trips by automobile The ''Benz Patent-Motorwagen Number 3'' of 1888, used by Be ...
by car, to prove the road-worthiness of her husband's invention. In 1896, Benz designed and patented the first internal-combustion
flat engine A flat engine, also known as a horizontally opposed engine, is a piston engine where the cylinders are located on either side of a central crankshaft. It is effectively a V engine with a 180-degree angle between the cylinder banks. A flat engine ...
, called ''boxermotor''. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest car company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899 and, because of its size, Benz & Cie., became a
joint-stock company A joint-stock company is a business entity in which shares of the company's stock can be bought and sold by shareholders. Each shareholder owns company stock in proportion, evidenced by their shares (certificates of ownership). Shareholders are ...
. The first motor car in central Europe and one of the first factory-made cars in the world, was produced by
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic, a country in Europe * Czech language * Czechs, the people of the area * Czech culture * Czech cuisine * One of three mythical brothers, Lech, Czech, and Rus Places *Czech, Łód ...
company Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (later renamed to Tatra) in 1897, the
Präsident The Präsident was an automobile manufactured by Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft A.G. (NW, now known as Tatra) in 1897. It was the first actually drivable factory made petrol-engined automobile produced in Austria-Hungary as well as in ...
automobil. Daimler and Maybach founded
Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG; ''Daimler Motors Corporation'') was a German engineering company and later automobile manufacturer, in operation from 1890 until 1926. Founded by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, it was based first in Can ...
(DMG) in
Cannstatt Bad Cannstatt, also called Cannstatt (until July 23, 1933) or Kannstadt (until 1900), is one of the outer stadtbezirke, or city districts, of Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Bad Cannstatt is the oldest and most populous of Stuttgart's di ...
in 1890, and sold their first car in 1892 under the brand name ''Daimler''. It was a horse-drawn stagecoach built by another manufacturer, which they retrofitted with an engine of their design. By 1895 about 30 vehicles had been built by Daimler and Maybach, either at the Daimler works or in the Hotel Hermann, where they set up shop after disputes with their backers. Benz, Maybach and the Daimler team seem to have been unaware of each other's early work. They never worked together; by the time of the merger of the two companies, Daimler and Maybach were no longer part of DMG. Daimler died in 1900 and later that year, Maybach designed an engine named ''Daimler-Mercedes'' that was placed in a specially ordered model built to specifications set by
Emil Jellinek Emil or Emile may refer to: Literature *''Emile, or On Education'' (1762), a treatise on education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau *''Émile'' (novel) (1827), an autobiographical novel based on Émile de Girardin's early life *"Emil", nickname of the Ku ...
. This was a production of a small number of vehicles for Jellinek to race and market in his country. Two years later, in 1902, a new model DMG car was produced and the model was named Mercedes after the Maybach engine, which generated 35 hp. Maybach quit DMG shortly thereafter and opened a business of his own. Rights to the ''Daimler'' brand name were sold to other manufacturers. Karl Benz proposed co-operation between DMG and Benz & Cie. when economic conditions began to deteriorate in Germany following the
First World War World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...
, but the directors of DMG refused to consider it initially. Negotiations between the two companies resumed several years later when these conditions worsened, and in 1924, they signed an Agreement of Mutual Interest, valid until the year 2000. Both enterprises standardized design, production, purchasing, and sales and they advertised or marketed their car models jointly, although keeping their respective brands. On 28 June 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, baptizing all of its cars Mercedes Benz, as a brand honoring the most important model of the DMG cars, the Maybach design later referred to as the 1902 Mercedes-35 hp, along with the Benz name. Karl Benz remained a member of the board of directors of Daimler-Benz until his death in 1929, and at times, his two sons also participated in the management of the company. In 1890,
Émile Levassor Panhard et Levassor (1890-1895) Émile Constant Levassor (21 January 1843 – 14 April 1897) was a French engineer and a pioneer of the automobile industry and car racing in France. Biography Levassor was born in Marolles-en-Hurepoix. After studyi ...

Émile Levassor
and
Armand Peugeot Armand Peugeot (; born 18 February 1849 – died 4 February 1915) was an industrialist in France, pioneer of the automobile industry and the man who transformed Peugeot into a manufacturer of bicycles and, later, of automobiles. He was accepted int ...

Armand Peugeot
of
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of Fr ...
began producing vehicles with Daimler engines, and so laid the foundation of the
automotive industry in France France was a pioneer in the automotive industry and is the 11th-largest automobile manufacturer in the world by 2015 unit production and the third-largest in Europe (after Germany and Spain). It had consistently been the 4th-largest from the end of ...
. In 1891,
Auguste Doriot Auguste Frédéric Doriot (24 October 1863 – 1955) was a French motoring pioneer who developed, built and raced cars for Peugeot before founding his own manufacturing company D.F.P. in combination with Ludovic Flandrin and the Parant brothers. In ...
and his Peugeot colleague Louis Rigoulot completed the longest trip by a gasoline-powered vehicle when their self-designed and built Daimler powered completed from
Valentigney Valentigney is a commune in the Doubs department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France. Valentigney is best known as the place where Peugeot began operations; several members of the Peugeot family still live in the area. During ...
to Paris and Brest and back again. They were attached to the first
Paris–Brest–Paris Paris–Brest–Paris (PBP) is a long-distance cycling event. It was originally a 1,200 km () bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris in 1891. The last time it was run as a race was 1951. The most recent edition of PBP was held on 18–2 ...
bicycle race, but finished 6 days after the winning cyclist,
Charles Terront Charles Terront (9 April 1857 – 31 October 1932) was the first major French cycling star. He won sprint, middle distance and endurance events in Europe and the United States. In September 1891 he won the first Paris–Brest–Paris cycle rac ...
. The first design for an American car with a gasoline internal combustion engine was made in 1877 by George Selden of
Rochester, New York Rochester () is a city in the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Monroe County, and the third-most populous in the state after New York City and Buffalo, with an estimated population of 205,695 in 2020. The city of Rochester forms the core of a ...
. Selden applied for a patent for a car in 1879, but the patent application expired because the vehicle was never built. After a delay of sixteen years and a series of attachments to his application, on 5 November 1895, Selden was granted a United States patent () for a
two-stroke A two-stroke (or two-cycle) engine is a type of internal combustion engine that completes a power cycle with two strokes (up and down movements) of the piston during only one crankshaft revolution. This is in contrast to a four-stroke engine, whic ...
car engine, which hindered, more than encouraged, development of cars in the United States. His patent was challenged by
Henry Ford Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist and business magnate, founder of the Ford Motor Company and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production. By creating the first automobile that mid ...
and others, and overturned in 1911. In 1893, the first running, gasoline-powered American car was built and road-tested by the
Duryea brothers 250px, J. Frank Duryea (right) with Charles Duryea The Duryea brothers, Charles Duryea (December 15, 1861 – September 28, 1938) and J. Frank Duryea (October 8, 1869 – February 15, 1967) were early pioneers in the automobile industry. The brothers ...
of
Springfield, Massachusetts Springfield is a city in the state of Massachusetts, United States, and the seat of Hampden County. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers: the western Westfield River, the eastern Chi ...
. The first public run of the
Duryea Motor Wagon 250px, Patent drawing for the Duryea Road Vehicle, 1895 The Duryea Motor Wagon was among the first standardized automobiles and among the first powered by gasoline. Fifteen examples were built by the Duryea Motor Wagon Company of Chicopee, Massachu ...
took place on 21 September 1893, on Taylor Street in Metro Center Springfield. The Studebaker Automobile Company, subsidiary of a long-established wagon and coach manufacturer, started to build cars in 1897 and commenced sales of electric vehicles in 1902 and gasoline vehicles in 1904. In Britain, there had been several attempts to build steam cars with varying degrees of success, with Thomas Rickett even attempting a production run in 1860. Santler from Malvern is recognized by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as having made the first gasoline-powered car in the country in 1894, followed by
Frederick William Lanchester Frederick William Lanchester LLD, Hon FRAeS, FRS (23 October 1868 – 8 March 1946), was an English polymath and engineer who made important contributions to automotive engineering and to aerodynamics, and co-invented the topic of operations res ...
in 1895, but these were both one-offs. The first production vehicles in Great Britain came from the
Daimler Company The Daimler Company Limited ( ), prior to 1910 The Daimler Motor Company Limited, was an independent British motor vehicle manufacturer founded in London by H. J. Lawson in 1896, which set up its manufacturing base in Coventry. The company ...
, a company founded by Harry J. Lawson in 1896, after purchasing the right to use the name of the engines. Lawson's company made its first car in 1897, and they bore the name ''Daimler''. In 1892, German engineer
Rudolf Diesel Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel ( (); 18 March 1858 – 29 September 1913) was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the Diesel engine, and for his suspicious death at sea. Diesel was the namesake of the 1942 film '' ...

Rudolf Diesel
was granted a patent for a "New Rational Combustion Engine". In 1897, he built the first
diesel engine The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to the mechanical compression; thus, the diesel engine is a so-cal ...
. Steam-, electric-, and gasoline-powered vehicles competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. Although various
pistonless rotary engine A pistonless rotary engine is an internal combustion engine that does not use pistons in the way a reciprocating engine does. Designs vary widely but typically involve one or more rotors, sometimes called rotary pistons. Although many different ...
designs have attempted to compete with the conventional
piston A piston is a component of reciprocating engines, reciprocating pumps, gas compressors, hydraulic cylinders and pneumatic cylinders, among other similar mechanisms. It is the moving component that is contained by a cylinder and is made gas-tight ...

piston
and
crankshaft A crankshaft is a shaft driven by a crank mechanism, consisting of a series of cranks and crankpins to which the connecting rods of an engine are attached. It is a mechanical part able to perform a conversion between reciprocating motion and rotat ...
design, only
Mazda The (commonly referred to as simply Mazda) is a Japanese multinational automaker based in Fuchū, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. In 2015, Mazda produced 1.5 million vehicles for global sales, the majority of which (nearly 1 ...
's version of the
Wankel engine The Wankel engine is a type of internal combustion engine using an eccentric rotary design to convert pressure into rotating motion. Compared to the reciprocating piston engine, the Wankel engine has more uniform torque and less vibration an ...
has had more than very limited success. All in all, it is estimated that over 100,000 patents created the modern automobile and motorcycle.


Mass production

Large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable cars was started by
Ransom Olds Ransom Eli Olds (June 3, 1864 – August 26, 1950) was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, after whom the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1887 and his first gasoline-powered ...
in 1901 at his
Oldsmobile Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Originally established as "Olds Motor Vehicle Company" by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, it produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 mill ...
factory in
Lansing, Michigan Lansing () is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is mostly in Ingham County, although portions of the city extend west into Eaton County and north into Clinton County. The 2010 Census placed the city's population at 114,297, making it ...
and based upon stationary
assembly line#REDIRECT Assembly line#REDIRECT Assembly line {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
techniques pioneered by
Marc Isambard Brunel Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (, ; 25 April 1769 – 12 December 1849) was a French-born engineer who is most famous for the work he did in Britain. He is best known for the construction of the Thames Tunnel and as the father of Isambard Kingdom B ...
at the
Portsmouth Block Mills Portsmouth () is a port city primarily built on Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire, South East England. It is also known colloquially as Pompey, a nickname shared with HMNB Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Football Club. It is the United Kin ...

Portsmouth Block Mills
, England, in 1802. The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. by
Thomas BlanchardThomas Blanchard may refer to: * Thomas Blanchard (academic), early principal of Brasenose College, Oxford * Thomas Blanchard (inventor) (1788–1864), American inventor * Thomas Blanchard Stowell (1846–1927), American educator * Thomas Blanchard ...
in 1821, at the
Springfield Armory The Springfield Armory, located in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, was the primary center for the manufacture of United States military firearms from 1777 until its closing in 1968. It was the first federal armory and one of the first fact ...

Springfield Armory
in
Springfield, Massachusetts Springfield is a city in the state of Massachusetts, United States, and the seat of Hampden County. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers: the western Westfield River, the eastern Chi ...
. This concept was greatly expanded by
Henry Ford Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist and business magnate, founder of the Ford Motor Company and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production. By creating the first automobile that mid ...
, beginning in 1913 with the world's first ''moving'' assembly line for cars at the
Highland Park Ford Plant The Highland Park Ford Plant is a former Ford Motor Company factory located at 91 Manchester Avenue (at Woodward Avenue) in Highland Park, Michigan. It was the second American production facility for the Model T automobile and the first factory ...

Highland Park Ford Plant
. As a result, Ford's cars came off the line in fifteen-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, increasing productivity eightfold, while using less manpower (from 12.5-man-hours to 1 hour 33 minutes). It was so successful,
paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, color, or provide texture to objects. Paint can be mad ...
became a bottleneck. Only Japan black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colors available before 1913, until fast-drying
Duco Duco was a trade name assigned to a product line of automotive lacquer developed by the DuPont Company in the 1920s. Under the Duco brand, DuPont introduced the first quick drying multi-color line of nitrocellulose lacquers made especially for the ...
lacquer The term lacquer is used for a number of hard and potentially shiny finishes applied to materials such as wood or metal. These fall into a number of very different groups. The term ''lacquer'' originates from the Sanskrit word ''lākshā'' ( ...
was developed in 1926. This is the source of Ford's
apocryphal Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews from th ...
remark, "any color as long as it's black". In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay. Ford's complex safety procedures—especially assigning each worker to a specific location instead of allowing them to roam about—dramatically reduced the rate of injury. The combination of high wages and high efficiency is called "
Fordism Fordism is a manufacturing technology that serves as the basis of modern economic and social systems in industrialized, standardized mass production and mass consumption. The concept is named for Henry Ford. It is used in social, economic, and manag ...
," and was copied by most major industries. The efficiency gains from the assembly line also coincided with the economic rise of the United States. The assembly line forced workers to work at a certain pace with very repetitive motions which led to more output per worker while other countries were using less productive methods. In the automotive industry, its success was dominating, and quickly spread worldwide seeing the founding of Ford France and Ford Britain in 1911, Ford Denmark 1923, Ford Germany 1925; in 1921, Citroen was the first native European manufacturer to adopt the production method. Soon, companies had to have assembly lines, or risk going broke; by 1930, 250 companies which did not, had disappeared. Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included electric
ignition Ignition may refer to: Science and technology * Firelighting, the human act of creating a fire for warmth, cooking and other uses * Combustion, an exothermic chemical reaction between a fuel and an oxidant * Fusion ignition, the point at which a n ...
and the electric self-starter (both by
Charles Kettering Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 25, 1958) sometimes known as Charles "Boss" Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. For the list of patents issued to Kettering, see, Leslie ...
, for the
Cadillac The Cadillac Motor Car Division is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors Company (GM) that designs and builds luxury vehicles. Its major markets are the United States, Canada, and China. Cadillac models are distribut ...

Cadillac
Motor Company in 1910–1911), independent
suspension Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspended ...
, and four-wheel brakes. Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans often have heavily influenced car design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, called the
General Motors Companion Make Program#REDIRECT General Motors companion make program {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move ...
, so that buyers could "move up" as their fortunes improved. Reflecting the rapid pace of change, makes shared parts with one another so larger production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in the 1930s, LaSalles, sold by
Cadillac The Cadillac Motor Car Division is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors Company (GM) that designs and builds luxury vehicles. Its major markets are the United States, Canada, and China. Cadillac models are distribut ...

Cadillac
, used cheaper mechanical parts made by
Oldsmobile Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Originally established as "Olds Motor Vehicle Company" by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, it produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 mill ...
; in the 1950s,
Chevrolet Chevrolet ( ), colloquially referred to as Chevy and formally the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet and ousted General Motors foun ...
shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; by the 1990s, corporate
powertrain In a motor vehicle, the powertrain consists of the source of propulsion (e.g. the engine or electric motor) and the drivetrain system which transfers this energy into forward movement of the vehicle. Definition The powertrain consists of the po ...
s and shared platforms (with interchangeable
brake A brake is a mechanical device that inhibits motion by absorbing energy from a moving system. It is used for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, wheel, axle, or to prevent its motion, most often accomplished by means of friction. Background M ...
s, suspension, and other parts) were common. Even so, only major makers could afford high costs, and even companies with decades of production, such as
Apperson Apperson Chummy Roadster The Apperson was a brand of American automobile manufactured from 1901 to 1926 in Kokomo, Indiana. Company history The company was founded by the brothers Edgar and Elmer Apperson shortly after they left Haynes-Apperson; ...
,
Cole Cole may refer to: Plants * A brassica, especially cabbage, kale, or rape (rapeseed). People * Cole (given name), people with the given name Cole * Cole (surname), people with the surname Cole Companies *Cole Motor Car Company, a pioneer Ameri ...
, Dorris,
HaynesHaynes may refer to: People *Haynes (surname) Places In Australia: * Haynes, Western Australia In the United Kingdom: *Haynes, Bedfordshire **Haynes Church End In the United States: *Haynes, Arkansas *Haynes, North Dakota *Haynes, Ohio *Haynes To ...
, or Premier, could not manage: of some two hundred American car makers in existence in 1920, only 43 survived in 1930, and with the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across the world; in most countries, it started in 1929 and las ...
, by 1940, only 17 of those were left. In Europe, much the same would happen. Morris set up its production line at Cowley in 1924, and soon outsold Ford, while beginning in 1923 to follow Ford's practice of
vertical integration In microeconomics, management, and international political economy, vertical integration refers to an arrangement in which the supply chain of a company is integrated and owned by that company. Usually each member of the supply chain produces a ...
, buying Hotchkiss (engines),
WrigleyWrigley may refer to: * Wrigley Company, a chewing-gum manufacturer * EG Wrigley and Company, a British manufacturer of cars, car components and mechanical parts * Wrigley (surname), a list of people with the name * Wrigley, Northwest Territories, C ...
(gearboxes), and Osberton (radiators), for instance, as well as competitors, such as Wolseley: in 1925, Morris had 41% of total British car production. Most British small-car assemblers, from
Abbey An interior of the Catholic_monastery_in_Naantali.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Nådendal Abbey">Bridgettine's Nådendal Abbey, a medieval Catholic Church">Catholic monastery in Naantali">Nådendal Abbey" ...
to Xtra, had gone under. Citroen did the same in France, coming to cars in 1919; between them and other cheap cars in reply such as
Renault Groupe Renault ( , , , also known as the Renault Group in English; legally Renault S.A.) is a French multinational automobile manufacturer established in 1899. The company produces a range of cars and vans, and in the past has manufactured tru ...
's 10CV and
Peugeot Peugeot (, , ) is a brand of vehicles and motorcycles owned by the Peugeot family, since 2021 a subsidiary of Stellantis. The family business that preceded the current Peugeot companies was founded in 1810, with a steel foundry that soon sta ...
's 5CV, they produced 550,000 cars in 1925, and Mors (automobile), Mors, Hurtu, and others could not compete. Germany's first mass-manufactured car, the Opel Opel Laubfrosch, 4PS ''Laubfrosch'' (Tree Frog), came off the line at Russelsheim in 1924, soon making Opel the top car builder in Germany, with 37.5% of the market. In Japan, car production was very limited before World War II. Only a handful of companies were producing vehicles in limited numbers, and these were small, three-wheeled for commercial uses, like Daihatsu, or were the result of partnering with European companies, like Isuzu Motors, Isuzu building the Wolseley Motors, Wolseley A-9 in 1922. Mitsubishi was also partnered with Fiat S.p.A., Fiat and built the Mitsubishi Model A based on a Fiat vehicle. Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, and Honda began as companies producing non-automotive products before the war, switching to car production during the 1950s. Kiichiro Toyoda's decision to take Toyoda Loom Works into automobile manufacturing would create what would eventually become Toyota Motor Corporation, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Subaru, meanwhile, was formed from a conglomerate of six companies who banded together as Fuji Heavy Industries, as a result of having been broken up under ''keiretsu'' legislation.


Fuel and propulsion technologies

According to the European Environment Agency, the transport sector is a major contributor to
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, such as gases (such as a ...
, noise pollution and climate change. Most cars in use in the 2010s run on gasoline burnt in an
internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, t ...
(ICE). The Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers says that, in countries that mandate low sulfur gasoline, gasoline-fuelled cars built to late 2010s standards (such as Euro-6) emit very little local air pollution. Some cities ban older gasoline-fuelled cars and some countries plan to ban sales in future. However some environmental groups say this phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles must be brought forward to limit climate change. Production of gasoline fueled cars peaked in 2017. Other hydrocarbon fossil fuels also burnt by deflagration (rather than detonation) in ICE cars include Diesel fuel, diesel, Autogas and Compressed natural gas, CNG. Removal of fossil fuel subsidies, concerns about energy security, oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for cars. This includes hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. 2.1 million light electric vehicles (of all types but mainly cars) were sold in 2018, over half in China: this was an increase of 64% on the previous year, giving a global total on the road of 5.4 million. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol fuel, ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Cars for racing or land speed record, speed records have sometimes employed jet car, jet or rocket car, rocket engines, but these are impractical for common use. Oil consumption has increased rapidly in the 20th and 21st centuries because there are more cars; the 1980s oil glut, 1985–2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low-economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries are adding to this consumption.


User interface

Cars are equipped with controls used for driving, passenger comfort, and safety, normally operated by a combination of the use of feet and hands, and occasionally by voice on 21st-century cars. These controls include a steering wheel, pedals for operating the brakes and controlling the car's speed (and, in a manual transmission car, a clutch pedal), a shift lever or stick for changing gears, and a number of buttons and dials for turning on lights, ventilation, and other functions. Modern cars' controls are now standardized, such as the location for the accelerator and brake, but this was not always the case. Controls are evolving in response to new technologies, for example, the electric car and the integration of mobile communications. Some of the original controls are no longer required. For example, all cars once had controls for the choke valve, clutch, ignition timing, and a crank instead of an electric Starter (engine), starter. However new controls have also been added to vehicles, making them more complex. These include
air conditioning Air conditioning (also A/C, air conditioner) is the process of removing heat and controlling the humidity as well as removing dust in some cases of the air within a building or vehicle to achieve a more comfortable interior environment. This ma ...
, navigation systems, and in car entertainment. Another trend is the replacement of physical knobs and switches by secondary controls with touchscreen controls such as BMW's ''iDrive'' and Ford's ''MyFord Touch''. Another change is that while early cars' pedals were physically linked to the brake mechanism and throttle, in the 2010s, cars have increasingly replaced these physical linkages with electronic controls.


Lighting

Cars are typically fitted with multiple types of lights. These include headlights, which are used to illuminate the way ahead and make the car visible to other users, so that the vehicle can be used at night; in some jurisdictions, daytime running lights; red brake lights to indicate when the brakes are applied; amber turn signal lights to indicate the turn intentions of the driver; white-colored reverse lights to illuminate the area behind the car (and indicate that the driver will be or is reversing); and on some vehicles, additional lights (e.g., side marker lights) to increase the visibility of the car. Interior lights on the ceiling of the car are usually fitted for the driver and passengers. Some vehicles also have a trunk light and, more rarely, an engine compartment light.


Weight

During the late 20th and early 21st century cars increased in weight due to batteries, modern steel safety cages, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and "more-powerful—if more-efficient—engines" and, , typically weigh between 1 and 3 tonnes. Heavier cars are safer for the driver from a crash perspective, but more dangerous for other vehicles and road users. The weight of a car influences fuel consumption and performance, with more weight resulting in increased fuel consumption and decreased performance. The SmartFortwo, a small city car, weighs . Heavier cars include full-size cars, SUVs and extended-length SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban, Suburban. According to research conducted by Julian Allwood of the University of Cambridge, global energy use could be greatly reduced by using lighter cars, and an average weight of has been said to be well achievable. In some competitions such as the Eco-marathon, Shell Eco Marathon, average car weights of have also been achieved. These cars are only single-seaters (still falling within the definition of a car, although 4-seater cars are more common), but they nevertheless demonstrate the amount by which car weights could still be reduced, and the subsequent lower fuel use (i.e. up to a fuel use of 2560 km/l).


Seating and body style

Most cars are designed to carry multiple occupants, often with four or five seats. Cars with five seats typically seat two passengers in the front and three in the rear. Full-size cars and large sport utility vehicles can often carry six, seven, or more occupants depending on the arrangement of the seats. On the other hand, sports cars are most often designed with only two seats. The differing needs for passenger capacity and their luggage or cargo space has resulted in the availability of a large variety of body styles to meet individual consumer requirements that include, among others, the Sedan (automobile), sedan/saloon, hatchback, station wagon/estate, and minivan.


Safety

Traffic collisions are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide. Mary Ward (scientist), Mary Ward became one of the first documented car fatalities in 1869 in Birr, County Offaly, Parsonstown, Ireland, and Henry Bliss (road accident victim), Henry Bliss one of the United States' first pedestrian car casualties in 1899 in New York City. There are now standard tests for safety in new cars, such as the EuroNCAP and the US NCAP tests, and insurance-industry-backed tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


Costs and benefits

The costs of car usage, which may include the cost of: acquiring the vehicle, repairs and auto maintenance, fuel,
depreciation In accountancy, depreciation refers to two aspects of the same concept: first, the actual decrease of fair value of an asset, such as the decrease in value of factory equipment each year as it is used and wears, and second, the allocation in ac ...
, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance, are weighed against the cost of the alternatives, and the value of the benefits – perceived and real – of vehicle usage. The benefits may include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence and convenience. During the 1920s, cars had another benefit: "[c]ouples finally had a way to head off on unchaperoned dates, plus they had a private space to snuggle up close at the end of the night." Similarly the costs to society of car use may include; maintaining roads,
land use caused by numerous roads near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields ...
,
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, such as gases (such as a ...
, road congestion,
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease”, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), communities and individ ...
, health care, and of disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life; and can be balanced against the value of the benefits to society that car use generates. Societal benefits may include: economy benefits, such as job and wealth creation, of car production and maintenance, transportation provision, society wellbeing derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the :Vehicle taxes, tax opportunities. The ability of humans to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.


Environmental impact

Cars are a major cause of urban
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, such as gases (such as a ...
, with all types of cars producing dust from brakes, tyres and road wear. the average diesel car has a worse effect on air quality than the average gasoline car But both gasoline and diesel cars pollute more than electric cars. While there are different ways to power cars most rely on gasoline or diesel fuel, diesel, and they consume almost a quarter of world oil production . In 2018 passenger road vehicles emitted 3.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. , due to greenhouse gases emitted during battery production, electric cars must be driven tens of thousands of kilometers before their lifecycle carbon emissions are less than fossil fuel cars: but this is expected to improve in future due to longer lasting batteries being produced in larger factories, and lower carbon electricity. Many governments are using fiscal policies, such as road tax, to discourage the purchase and use of more polluting cars; and many cities are doing the same with low-emission zones. Fuel taxes may act as an incentive for the production of more efficient, hence less polluting, car designs (e.g. hybrid vehicles) and the development of alternative fuels. High fuel taxes or cultural change may provide a strong incentive for consumers to purchase lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or to Car-free movement, not drive. The Car longevity, lifetime of a car built in the 2020s is expected to be about 16 years, or about 2 million kilometres (1.2 million miles) if driven a lot. According to the International Energy Agency fuel economy improved 0.7% in 2017, but an annual improvement of 3.7% is needed to meet the Global Fuel Economy Initiative 2030 target. The increase in sales of SUVs is bad for fuel economy. Many cities in Europe, have Low-emission zone, banned older fossil fuel cars and all fossil fuel vehicles will be banned in Amsterdam from 2030. Many Chinese cities limit licensing of fossil fuel cars, and many countries plan to stop selling them between 2025 and 2050. The manufacture of vehicles is resource intensive, and many manufacturers now report on the environmental performance of their factories, including energy usage, waste and water consumption. Manufacturing each kWh of battery emits a similar amount of carbon as burning through one full tank of gasoline. The growth in popularity of the car allowed cities to Urban sprawl, sprawl, therefore encouraging more travel by car resulting in inactivity and obesity, which in turn can lead to increased risk of a variety of diseases. Animals and plants are often negatively impacted by cars via habitat destruction and pollution. Over the lifetime of the average car the "loss of habitat potential" may be over based on primary production correlations. Animals are also killed every year on roads by cars, referred to as roadkill. More recent road developments are including significant environmental mitigation in their designs, such as green bridges (designed to allow wildlife crossings) and creating wildlife corridors. Growth in the popularity of vehicles and commuting has led to traffic congestion. Moscow, Istanbul, Bogota, Mexico City and Sao Paulo were the world's most congested cities in 2018 according to INRIX, a data analytics company.


Emerging car technologies

Although intensive development of conventional battery electric vehicles is continuing into the 2020s, other car propulsion technologies that are under development include wheel hub motors, Inductive charging#Electric vehicles, wireless charging, hydrogen cars, and hydrogen/electric hybrids. Research into alternative forms of power includes using ammonia instead of hydrogen in fuel cells. New materials which may replace steel car bodies include duralumin, fiberglass, carbon fiber, biocomposites, and carbon nanotubes. Telematics technology is allowing more and more people to share cars, on a City Car Club, pay-as-you-go basis, through car share and carpool schemes. Communication is also evolving due to connected car systems.


Autonomous car

Fully autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless cars, already exist in prototype (such as the Google driverless car), but have a long way to go before they are in general use.


Open source development

There have been several projects aiming to develop a car on the principles of open design, an approach to designing in which the plans for the machinery and systems are publicly shared, often without monetary compensation. The projects include OScar (open source car), OScar, Riversimple (through 40fires.org) and c,mm,n. None of the projects have reached significant success in terms of developing a car as a whole both from hardware and software perspective and no mass production ready open-source based design have been introduced as of late 2009. Some car Hacker (programmer subculture), hacking through on-board diagnostics (OBD) has been done so far.


Car sharing

Carsharing, Car-share arrangements and carpooling are also increasingly popular, in the US and Europe. For example, in the US, some car-sharing services have experienced double-digit growth in revenue and membership growth between 2006 and 2007. Services like car sharing offering a residents to "share" a vehicle rather than own a car in already congested neighborhoods.


Industry

The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's
motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a s ...
s, more than three-quarters of which are cars. In 2018 there were 70 million cars manufactured worldwide, down 2 million from the previous year. The automotive industry in China produces by far the most (24 million in 2018), followed by Japan (8 million), Germany (5 million) and India (4 million). The largest market is China, followed by the USA. Around the world there are about a billion cars on the road; they burn over a trillion liters of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly, consuming about 50 exajoule, EJ (nearly 300 terawatt-hours) of energy. The numbers of cars are increasing rapidly in China and India. In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investment. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars. The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems. The car industry is also facing increasing competition from the public transport sector, as some people re-evaluate their private vehicle usage.


Alternatives

Established alternatives for some aspects of car use include public transport such as buses, trolleybuses, trains, Rapid transit, subways, tram system, tramways, light rail, cycling, and walking. Bicycle sharing systems have been established in China and many European cities, including Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Similar programs have been developed in large US cities. Additional individual modes of transport, such as personal rapid transit could serve as an alternative to cars if they prove to be socially accepted.


Other meanings

The term ''motorcar'' was formerly also used in the context of electrified rail systems to denote a car which functions as a small locomotive but also provides space for passengers and baggage. These locomotive cars were often used on suburban routes by both interurban and intercity railroad systems.


See also

General: *Automobile safety *Car classification *Car costs *Green vehicle *Jaywalking *Motor vehicle fatality rate in U.S. by year *Motor vehicle theft *Peak car *Steering *Traffic collision Effects: *Automobile dependency *Effects of the car on societies *Environmental impact of transport *Externalities of automobiles *Fenceline community *Mobile source air pollution *Noise pollution *Roadway noise *Traffic congestion *Urban decay *Urban sprawl Mitigation: *Car-free movement *Carfree city *Congestion pricing *Highway revolts *New Urbanism *Smart Growth *Transit Oriented Development


References


Further reading

* * * * *


External links

* *
Fédération Internationale de l'AutomobileForum for the Automobile and Society
{{Authority control Cars, Wheeled vehicles German inventions 19th-century inventions