Automobiles are vehicles designed for transporting people. Most automobiles are powered by an internal combustion engine, which burns a fuel like petrol (or gas) and turns a crankshaft to drive the wheels of the car. Depending on the type of automobile, the engine may use spark ignition or compression ignition. Some automobiles have a diesel engine, while others are electric.
Having a car means that you can travel long distances without having to rely on trains or buses. This opens up new opportunities for work, family, and social life. Having an automobile is also a status symbol in many parts of the world, and it gives you independence from other people when travelling around.
Karl Benz invented the first modern automobile in 1885. Henry Ford followed with the Model T, making it possible for middle-class families to own automobiles. Assembly lines allowed manufacturers to turn out automobiles quickly and cheaply. This revolutionized transportation, and roads, industries, and services grew to serve the needs of automobiles.
The main parts of an automobile are the engine, transmission system, axles, and control system. The chassis is the part that holds all these parts together. The engine is the heart of an automobile, because it powers all the other parts. The transmission system sends the power from the engine to the axles, which in turn drive the road wheels. The gear system in the automobile allows the outer wheels to move faster than the inner wheels, resulting in a large tractive effort between the tires and the road when starting from rest.