Evolution of Automobile

Madhu Lamichhane

Mechanical Engineering final semester

Back before few hundred years, travelling meant walking. Many miles were travelled by peoples on their own and the transportation used to mean making animals carry peoples’ goods. Now, travelling and transportation has lot wider definition. Automobile! The automobile is a self-propelled vehicle that travels on land. It gets its name from classical-compound of Greek word “autos” meaning “self” and Latin word “mobilis” meaning “movable”. It usually has four wheels and an engine that provides power to move the vehicle.
Automobiles have been around us for more than years. But, the very first self-propelling vehicle was designed in China Ferdinand Ferbiest in 1672. However, it is left unknown if it was ever built. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, in 1769 built a steam-powered tricycle. But, his invention had a major problem of water supply required for the engine. In 1801, Richard Trevithick built first vehicle to move on the road but this also failed as it was unable to maintain constant steam pressure. Later several other inventors and engineers tried their model of an automobile, but it was until 1879 when German engineer, Karl Benz designed the first automobile. It was built and used in 1886. He, then, commercialised automobiles and in next seven years, 25 Benz-Patent Motorwagen (the name given to the first automobile model) were sold.
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Figure: The Benz-Patent Motorwagen

In 1896, Benz designed the first internal combustion engine – all previous engines were external combustion engines – and by this time, Benz was the largest car company of the world with 572 cars produced in 1899.
The automobile history was still in its making. While Benz and Cio. (Benz merged with Cio.) was manufacturing cars in Europe, Charles and Frank Duryea were making the first automobile in United States in 1893. By 1895, Henry Ford, Ransom Olds and many others were manufacturing cars there.

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Figure: The first Ford car Model-A
Henry Ford, an American industrialist, thought of making cars the future of America and the whole world. For his dream to come true, cars should be made affordable to common people too. And, this idea of him lead to the manufacturing of Ford Model-T. Previously known as Model Tin Lizzie, it was began be produced from 1 Oct. 1908. This model is regarded as the first affordable car of the history. This model also introduced a revolutionary concept of assembly line production in industries. This concept holds its influence till this date. Assembly line production method generally means manufacturing of different parts of a whole in different sections and later assembling to one. This model of car is also the first model to be manufactured world-wide. Its parts used to be manufactured in Canada and United Kingdom and assembled in various other countries. Its fame lasted for next two decades and it was stopped producing in 1927 when the idea of comfortable ride was brought by other various models and companies.
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Figure: Model-T by Ford

The cars brought about a revolution in peoples’ lifestyle. Several car industries began to manufacture various models of cars. Countries like United States, Germany, Japan and United Kingdom remained leading countries in the world. In 1910, Mercer Raceabout was manufactured to be the first racing car. In the same time, Bugati came to be the car with advanced mechanism and design. In 1917, Japanese company, Mitsubishi built hand-made car for certain people.
Later, the engine system of cars were made smaller and more complex and firm. These engines could produce more power and speed. The suspension system also got smoother which made cars more comfortable to ride. Steering system, Wheel and Axle system were also made more advanced and easier to use. Other automobile designs like trucks, tractors, motorcycles and buses later came in and the scope of vehicle was wide-spread. Introduction of electronics in automobile made the production of vehicle easier. Various sensors could be used and controlled amount of fuel made automobiles cheaper too.
Nowadays, many advanced automobiles can be found available for us. Many advanced techniques like proximity sensor, Bluetooth control, Air-conditioning system have fancied the designs of vehicles. Computer-aided design have made engineers easier to manufacture every complex parts and tools. Body styles of cars have changes as well in the modern era. Three types, the hatchback, sedan and sports utility vehicle, dominate today’s market. Many people all around the world are in the reach of automobiles, be in its different form. Many countries have begun to produce automotive vehicles.
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Figure: The usage of automobile around the world
With economic crisis and stability in different periods, automobile industry have faced many problems and enrichments. In the days to come, more advanced cars are expected to be in the reach of people. Flying car in not few decades far away from us. Hence, it will be no wrong to say that whatever the world will take turns to, automotive vehicles will always prevail among us. And, hundreds of kilometres per hour and more marvellous in their look, cars will never cease to amaze us.

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