Automobiles are one of the most important inventions in human history. They allow people to travel over long distances in relative comfort, and they have opened up a world of possibilities for work, social relationships, and leisure activities. But automobiles also create problems, such as the need for a driver, the use of fossil fuels, and harm to the environment.
There have been many different kinds of automobiles over the years – steam, electric, and gasoline-powered vehicles competed for decades before the internal combustion engine became dominant in the 1910s. Henry Ford revolutionized car manufacturing by using assembly lines, and his Model T made cars affordable for middle-class families. Today, almost everyone drives an automobile for some part of the time.
The essential parts of an automobile are the chassis, engine, transmission system, and control systems. The chassis is the base on which all of the other parts are mounted. It is usually made from steel, and it can be either integral or frameless.
The engine provides power to the vehicle by running a chain or belt that connects it to the transmission system. The engine may be a spark-ignition engine consuming gas or a compression ignition engine fueled by diesel. The transmission system takes the power from the engine and transmits it to the axle, which in turn powers the road wheels. The axles have the potential to twist, so the outer tires must travel a greater distance than the inner ones to maintain traction on the road surface.