Automobiles are one of the most important aspects of modern society. Cars are the most common form of transport in the world. They carry passengers, goods, and equipment. They are built to be robust, durable, and safe. The industry is highly technical and complex. Modern automobiles are made up of thousands of components.
When discussing automobiles, it is easy to forget that motorcycles are also included. They may not fall under the same category, but the word is commonly used interchangeably. Motorcycles are self-propelled vehicles that have two or three wheels. However, they do not qualify as automobiles if they are three-wheeled, do not have a drive chain to the rear wheel, have sidecars, or are not car-like in appearance.
One of the earliest motorcycles was a velocipedes. It was powered by a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine. This represented a significant technological advancement. Afterwards, more inventors attempted to create better motorcycles.
Although there are many differences between cars and motorcycles, the two are largely similar. Motorcycles have a frame and tires made from steel or aluminum. Some motorcycles have cast wheels and others have aluminum rims with spokes. A motorcycle’s steering geometry is important to cornering ability.
In 1885, an engine for a bicycle was patented. Two German engineers developed a commercially marketed motorcycle a year later. Their motorcycle, the Daimler Reitwagen, was powered by a powerful, yet small, 0.5 hp engine. Top speeds were under seven miles per hour.
During the mid-Victorian era, bicycle builder Sylvester Howard Roper designed a machine that was similar to the motorcycle. Unlike the bike, the car was primarily intended to carry passengers. His Stout Scarab was a streamlined beetle-like shape.
After World War II, automobile production in the United States and Europe skyrocketed. The industry was dominated by the “Big Three” auto companies, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. Since then, the automobile industry has become global. Currently, there are over 1.4 billion passenger cars in the world.
Passenger vehicles account for about 70 percent of the total automobiles manufactured worldwide. Sales of vehicles have increased significantly in recent years. Despite a sharp drop in 1998, sales were projected to reach 915,000 units in 2000. While the Asian economic crisis contributed to a 175,000 drop, sales have begun to rebound. Today, there are nearly four million automobiles in the U.S. and a further 1.5 million in Europe.
There are many different definitions for the term “automobile”. The most commonly accepted ones say that they are a vehicle that runs on roads or a motor vehicle with four wheels. Other terms can be technical, such as the term’motorcar’, which refers to a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Most definitions include a designation for the number of seats it can seat.
Compared with other forms of transportation, cars are a lot more spacious and reliable. With a growing population, cars are a vital part of society. As a result, there is a rapidly rising demand for automobiles.