Automobiles and Motorcycles
Automobiles are vehicles used by millions of people around the world. They are a highly complex technical system. Various component parts are incorporated into them, including the body, hood, trunk, and tires. An internal combustion engine generates electricity that powers the wheels. The vehicle’s stability depends on the weight distribution of its components.
As the twentieth century progressed, the automobile industry developed as the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society. The demand for cars was driven by increased per capita income. In addition, cheap raw materials encouraged the mechanization of industrial processes.
In the 1920s, the United States emerged as a dominant force in the automobile industry. This was due to its higher per capita income and greater need for automotive transportation than Europe. At the same time, the manufacturing tradition of the American auto industry helped lower prices. By the 1980s, the industry became global. During this period, the automobile accounted for one out of every six jobs in the country.
Automobiles are highly complicated technical systems, incorporating thousands of component parts. The car’s body, hood, and fenders are all made from steel. Some bodies are also made from fiberglass. A dashboard provides information on the speed, oil temperature, and fuel level in the tank.
An internal combustion engine produces power for the wheels and supplies electricity to the other systems. An oil filter is required after a certain number of kilometers, and the oil needs to be changed after a specific interval. There are many instruments on the dashboard to indicate the speed, oil temperature, and the fuel level in the tank.
When automobiles were first invented, they were bicycle-like contraptions. During the mid-Victorian era, bicycle builder Ernest Michaux and Sylvester Howard Roper created a similar machine. These early automobiles were a step forward from horse-drawn carriages, which were inconvenient to drive and lacked modern conveniences.
In the 1900s, the first gasoline-powered cars began to overtake the streets of Europe. The Model T runabout, a model of the Ford Motor Company, sold for $575 in 1912. Until the 1930s, cars primarily came in two models: sedans and coupes. However, by the 1930s, a growing number of models were offered with a variety of configurations.
Cars also came in a variety of sizes. In 1904, the Oldsmobile was the most produced vehicle in the United States. Its price was relatively low, and the company’s output surpassed that of any car manufacturer in the country.
Automobiles also brought an end to rural isolation. People could now attend better schools, participate in outdoor recreation, and receive medical care. Besides bringing urban amenities to rural America, the automobile also helped spur the growth of tourism.
In the 1970s, Japanese manufacturers began to compete with American carmakers. Their small, fuel-efficient cars soon replaced the traditional road cruisers that were manufactured in the United States. Although the era of annually restyled road cruisers came to a close, the American car manufacturing industry continued to dominate until the late twentieth century.