the automobile (of Greek άυτο~, áuto~ - selbst~ and Latin mobilis - mobile), briefly: Car, defined as self-propelled vehicle (automobiles), itself independently of rails and without the employment of course animals independently and from own drivearbitrarily ashore to move can. This definition includes two-wheelers also motorized also, however the word generally linguistic usage is usually used for mehrspurige vehicles. Often also only the passenger car is meant.

In this article the general development becomes of theCars described. The technical description takes place in the article motor vehicle.

Mercedes simplex from 1906
Ein Auto im Jahre 1921
a car in the year 1921

table of contents

the history of the automobile

antiquity to 18. Century

the first car with a gasoline drive from the year 1886

In 19. Century

in 19. Century was built a multiplicity at steam automobiles. Already 1828 gave it in England a more or less regularPendulum service with a steam bus between London and Bath. Also at the beginning 20. Century still another successful steam truck was built, the Sentinel.

In the exit 19. Century

the development of the today's cars began 1886 in Germany. It became at the 3. July 1886 in Mannheim von Carl Benz invented. After it followed briefly independently of it in CAN place with Stuttgart God-dear Daimler and William May brook as well as Siegfried Marcus in Vienna.

The first cross-country travel undertook Bertha Benz to 5. August 1888 from Mannheim to Pforzheim. You went out the gasoline and it had „to refuel “. There were gas stations stillnot. There were the appropriate chemicals only in the pharmacy. Thus the city pharmacy from pointing hole became to the first gas station of the world.

Most vehicles produced at that time were based on the basic construction notice-the-simplex (1906 - see above photo, to so-called. Simplex construction). Itin front, a transmission and drive shafts possessed an engine to the propelled wheels. The term “simplex” goes on emperors Wilhelm II. back, the 1906 on a motor show in Berlin the starting procedure Mercedes to explain left itself and in the comparison tothe laborious clamping of horses into a Kutsche only approximately 10-Minütigen „starting procedure “as „simplex “designated.

  • 1886: „Benz & cost “submit a patent specification for a dreirädriges „vehicle with gas engine enterprise “. Karl Benz (German), the inventor drives around publicly. 1894 - 1902it manufactures an automobile in series as the first.
  • 1887: God-dear Daimler (German) builds likewise completely independently of Karl Benz of automobiles and creates „the Daimler engine company “. He co-operates with engine farmer the William May brook and develops in such a wayvarious vehicles.
  • 1888/89: Siegfried Marcus (in Vienna of living Germans), lets a car propelled by a gasoline four-stroke engine, which exhibits the most substantial components of a modern automobile build independently of Benz and Daimler.
  • First documented speed record of an automobile1898 are set up by the Frenchman gas clay/tone de Chasseloup Laubat with 63,14 km/h with an electric road vehicle. To 1964 automobile speed records are recognized only by vehicles, which are propelled over the wheels.
  • 1891: Car factories develop in Europe and in the USA,and. A. in France Peugeot. Daimler creates enterprises in England and in Austria.
  • 1892: Rudolf Diesel receives a patent on one „new one rational thermal engine “and modifies thereby the original carnot cycle. The result is a higher efficiency. 1897he builds the first diesel engine.
  • 1895: With the Netphener bus company the first gasoline-claimant bus of the world takes up its enterprise.
  • 1898: The Austrian car manufacturer count & pin manufactures the first car with front wheel drive (patent 1900)

In 20. Century

at the end 19. Century competed the different drive systems for automobiles still very strongly with one another, before the lifting cylinder engine could become generally accepted. For example the production numbers of the American automobile manufacturing (75 manufacturers) show this from the year 1900:

  • Altogether 4192 automobiles were manufactured.
    • 1688 steam automobiles
    • of 1575 electric vehicles
    • of 929 vehicles with petrol engine

the gasoline automobile needed into the 1920er years, in order to intersperse itself against other drive systems. Reasons were among other things the technical progress in the engine construction and cheap fuel from oilwith a much higher power density than electrical memory as well as, also today the still valid advantages justified herein: a large range and a high possible speed. The principle of the first automobile remained until today. There is however many technicalInnovations been added:

In 21. Century

different development tendencies can be observed at present. Thus for example the integration of information electronics is strengthened operated (navigation systems,Maintenance media for passenger, etc.). Main topic is also the further consumption lowering and/or. an alternative drive. The technical progress in the area of the engine technology and the lightweight construction becomes however partially by additional comfort and safety equipments as well as stronger motorizing of the vehicles againmade. Nevertheless fleet consumption continues to drop . 2003 were calculated fleet consumption in Germany to 7.35 l/100 km. Reason is above all the large portion of newly certified diesel engined vehicles. This led also to the fact that the total sales at gasoline andDiesel fuel in Germany since 1999 is declining.

The substantial innovation areas of the vehicle technology concern the following ranges of topics:


after numbers of the WHO die 1.2 millionHumans annually at the direct consequences of traffic accidents. All measures for the increase of the road safety together contributed to the fact that itself the number of the persons killed with a traffic accident (2004: about 5800, 1971: approx. 21000) in Germanyon the lowest conditions since introduction of the statistics in the year moves 1953. In view of a often higher Fahrzeugbestands and altogether grown road performances a considerable success.

The security of passengers and potenziellen accident opponents of motor vehicles depends on organizational and constructional measuresas well as the personal behavior of the road users.

  • Among the organizational measures rank for example: Traffic management (road traffic regulations with traffic signs or somewhat more modern by traffic control systems), legal regulations (belt obligation, telephoning prohibition), Verkehrsüberwachung and road-structural measures.
  • The constructional safety devices of modern automobiles leave themselves in principleinto two different ranges arranged:
    • Passive safety devices are to reduce, if an accident is not to be avoided, the consequences. In addition count: Seat belt, safety head restraint, belt-taut, Airbag, overroll bar, distortable steering wheels with releasable steering columns, crunch zone, side impact protection, constructional measuresto the accident opponent protection
    • active safety devices are to prevent or in its weight lower an accident. Examples: ABS, ESP.
  • Personal measures, like defensive driving, the correct keeping of traffic regulations or training of the vehicle control, for example with a driving safety training, help the personalTo decrease accident risk;Verkehrserziehunng particularly for children.
  • In Austria recently a law was issued, which orders a driving with light also on the day. A goal of this campaign is it to focus the human sensory impressions on the sources of danger and thus thoseTo reduce number of the traffic deads. Estimations of the Federal Ministry according to are expected less annually 15 traffic deads. Also in Germany such a measure is considered.

Effects of the automobilization

Staaten mit einem Kraftfahrzeugbestand von über 10 Millionen PKW+LKW
states with a Kraftfahrzeugbestand of over 10 million PKW+LKW


hardlyother industrial mass product changed the everyday life of mankind more than the automobile. Since the beginning 20. Century it gave more than 2500 enterprises, which produced automobiles. Many enterprises, in 19. Century iron goods or steel produced, caughtAnd so the knowledge, which was needed decades later in the automotive manufacture, developed center of the century with the manufacturing from weapons or bicycles.

Even today there are still many small enterprises within the range automobile production, only one handful - mostlyexclusive - vehicles produce, for example the enterprises support (the USA) or Morgan (GB).

See also: Automobile industry


Entwicklung der Anzahl von Personenkraftwagen in Deutschland seit 1975
development of the number of passenger cars in Germany since 1975
Entwicklung der Anzahl von Personenkraftwagen in der Schweiz seit 1910
development of the number of passenger cars in Switzerland since 1910

quintessential pointthe meaning of the automobile are the mobility, in addition, the flexibility. In 18. Century gave it as progressive movement means only the Kutsche and the horse. With invention of the railway the speed could be increased, butone was to timetables and determined critical points bound. Only the automobile made possible universal and individual progressive movement as well as the flexible fast transport of goods. Altogether were to the 1. January of 2004 49.648.043 automobiles in Germany certified.

The far spreading and intensiveUse of motor vehicles leads today in densely populated areas occasionally to problems, since the number of users is too large (back-up).

The goods traffic on the road is an elementary component of the today's economy. Thus it permits the flexibility of the commercial motor vehicles, easily perishable goods directly to the retail trade and/or. to bring to the final consumer. Mobile construction machines take over today a large part of building works and supplies. Just in time - supplies make a much faster expiration of building possible. Concrete is mixed in concrete works and brought afterwards with special vehicles to the building site,mobile concrete pumps save the stand or building of cranes.


the air pollution by the exhaust gases of the combustion engines takes, straight in population centres, partially. health-endangering extents on (keyword smog, fine dust). The fuels of the engines contain poisonous substances such as xylene, toluol, Benzene as well as aldehydes. Still more poisonous lead additives are at least in Europe and the USA no longer usual.

Also that predominantly of the automobile caused road noise damages the health.

The engine oil from automobiles arrives sometimes into the food chain.

To the dangersthe motor traffic and/or. to traffic accidents see the chapter security.


the consumption of mineral oil, a fossil source of energy for the enterprise of the automobile produces CO 2 - output of several million tons annually and contributes so substantially to the greenhouse effect.The occurrences at fossil sources of energy, in particular oil, are limited. The distribution of the occurrences and the consumer lead to political conflicts up to military conflicts.

The enormous land consumption for vehicles and traffic routes destroys the habitat for humans, animals and plants.

The manufacturing of the automobile uses beyond that substantial quantities of raw materials, water and energy. Depending upon world view the data go however far apart for this. In accordance with the automobile industry only about 2700 becomes l vehicle per manufactured as waste water into drainsdismisses and/or into the sewage purification plant, which originate also still to a certain part from the social rooms. (Source:AUDI (pdf)). Greenpeace proceeds in the Greenpeacemagazin 4/97 from a consumption of 20.000 l for a car in the medium range. MIRROR Special 11/1998 computes forthe production of a passenger car of the upper middle class (about: Mercedes would disgust-eat) 226,000 litres water. The water management regards industry-positive 380,000 l for a vehicle as necessary.

The automobile industry works therefore on alternative concepts, however only by political and/or. economicalObligations larger spreading to attain might.

Utensils vs. Culture symbol

the car is, exactly besehen, primarily utensils, which has three special advantages. It is a means of transport,

  1. the larger to large loads (transport)
  2. within short time overlarge distances (mobility)
  3. with greatest possible flexibility of the individual person (individuality)

to move knows. Thus it increases the efficiency and productivity of a society.

As such it is not from to underestimating value for the daily life, and oneit cannot only say with good reason that it today a substantial part of our life become actual it has it over the decades of its development coined/shaped and structures.

Without mobility today hardly an economic or a society formation is more conceivable. OursSociety and our economic system were particularly subjected meanwhile to an enormous centralization. The townscape is primarily coined/shaped by traffic and the infrastructure necessary for it. To the fact it is remarkable that this process of the development of our society no consciously more steered, butin the reason arbitrarily or the interests of the economy and/or. is more subjected to the product demand.

The car is however far more than one utensils. In many countries - in addition America or Germany does not by far only count - is the carSymbol for strength, for liquidity or wealth and modernity. A car to possess, is an affair of prestige; which car one possesses likewise. The car is integrated splendourful into the environment of “modern” humans. Personal goals like for example Power (for instance in the invested money is reflected), speed or efficiency, independence (“in the car I am free and autonomous”) appear therein. The car satisfies central of needs, dreams, ideals and goes in this sense far over its practical valueoutside. The market lives of it already for decades. Autoadvertisement functions only rarely or only partly over the practical advantages, which a model can offer. Instead the car becomes “second at home” - greatest possible comfort for drivers and passengers and variousAuxiliary functions occupy this again and again on the new. In the meantime this development partly turns. In times of the shrinking common weal conditions it is increasingly criticized that there are no comfort-poor, in particular HartzIV conformal vehicles to buy more.

There is thus two factors, thosethe spreading of the car vorangestrieben in such a manner have:

  1. its economic value in use and
  2. its popularity under the population

and from this a third not insignificant point results: the automobile industry is a large support of our economic system, that around its will and stabilitythe society because of the will for (self) preservation produces.

The positive Eigentschaften mentioned has its drawback, because the car coins/shapes our life also in other way (see in addition also risks):

  • the townscape is mainly coined/shaped by traffic and infrastructure (road system)
  • Noise and environmental pollution reduce the quality of life
  • the energy consumption are enormously
  • the car tempted to progressive movement without movement - the health only causes beneficially.

Hardly another object of our daily life unites such opposite characteristics. Based on the totalsocial problems, thosefrom the car resulted, are justified the question, whether the advantages, which are in contrast to it rather individualistischer nature (thus primarily serves individual humans), are actually sufficient, in order to counterbalance those.

Various over the automobile


the followingManufacturers are the 5 strongest automarks in Western Europe:

  • Renault (new permissions in piece: 2003: 1.505.000, 2004: 1.483.000, 2005: 1.455.000)
  • VOLKSWAGEN (new permissions in piece: 2003: 1.415.000, 2004: 1.391.000, 2005: 1.411.000)
  • Ford (new permissions in piece: 2003: 1.228.000, 2004: 1.254.000, 2005:1.203.000)
  • Peugeot (new permissions in piece: 2003: 1.197.000, 2004: 1.150.000, 2005: 1.172.000)
  • OPEL (new permissions in piece: 2003: 989.000, 2004: 981.000, 2005: 968.000)

The following manufacturers are the 5 strongest automarks in Germany:

  • VOLKSWAGEN (new permissions in piece: 2003: 600.360, 2004: 602.725, 2005: 604.000)
  • Mercedes Benz (new permissions in piece: 2003: 369.099, 2004: 360.425, 2005: 354.000)
  • OPEL (new permissions in piece: 2003: 332.781, 2004: 334.794, 2005: 345.000)
  • BMW (new permissions in piece: 2003: 253.376, 2004: 276.982, 2005: 277.000)
  • AUDI (new permissions in piece: 2003: 238.742, 2004: 235.652, 2005: 243.000)

Note: Numbers for 2005 are estimated, conditions February 2005

research establishments about automobile

  • Forschungsinstitut for Fraftfahrwesen and vehicle engines Stuttgart (FKFS)
  • Institut for combustion engines and Kraftfahrwesen (IVK) of the University of Stuttgart
  • Institut for Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (ika)the RWTH Aachen
  • research association Kraftfahrwesen ltd. Aachen (fka)
  • field of activity vehicle technology DO to Darmstadt (fzd)

critics of the automobile

See also

Commons: Automobiles - pictures, videos and/or audio files
Wiktionary: Automobile - word origin, synonyms and translations

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