An automobile, by its common name motor car or simply cars, is a four-wheeled vehicle used for transporting passengers. It is powered by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. The modern automobile has many subsystems with specific design functions and uses complex technology to perform its operations.
The earliest recorded automobiles were steam engines attached to wagons in the late 18th century. They could go at high speeds but were heavy and difficult to control. Electric automobiles came into use in the 1900s but they had limited range and recharging stations were inconvenient. Ultimately, gasoline engines won the day.
Karl Benz of Germany is usually credited with inventing the modern automobile when he patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1885/1886. His wife Bertha Benz famously drove a Benz automobile on its first test drive, which happened to be over 106 km (about 65 miles).
Automobiles use brakes that work by friction to stop them in an emergency or to prevent the automobile from rolling when parked. Some vehicles have regenerative brakes that convert the energy from the automobile’s movement back into electricity.
An automobile is a system of interrelated components that includes the frame, chassis, and body. The frame is the skeleton of the automobile, holding the base components, and it provides alignment for the chassis. The chassis is the framework that holds the rest of the automobile’s components, including the engine, radiator, clutch, gearbox, and silencer. The body is the superstructure of an automobile and contains features such as seats, windows, doors, and lights.