"Car" and "Cars" redirect here. For other uses, see Car . Karl Benz's "Velo" model (1894) - entered into an early automobile race Passenger cars in 2000 World map of passenger cars per 1000 people.An automobile or motor car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor. Most definitions of the term specify that automobiles are designed to run primarily on roads, to have seating for one to eight people, to typically have four wheels, and to be constructed principally for the transport of people rather than goods. However, the term automobile is far from precise, because there are many types of vehicles that do similar tasks.As of 2002, there were 590 million passenger cars worldwide (roughly one car per eleven people). Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007; they burn over 260 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China and India.
Ferdinand Verbiest, a member of a Jesuit mission in China, built the first steam-powered vehicle around 1672 which was of small scale and designed as a toy for the Chinese Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger, but quite possibly, was the first working steam-powered vehicle ('auto-mobile').[6][7]Although Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is often credited with building the first self-propelled mechanical vehicle or automobile in about 1769 by adapting an existing horse-drawn vehicle, this claim is disputed by some[citation needed], who doubt Cugnot's three-wheeler ever ran or was stable. What is not in doubt is that Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive in 1801, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle although it was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods, and would have been of little practical use.In Russia, in the 1780s, Ivan Kulibin developed a human-pedalled, three-wheeled carriage with modern features such flywheel, brake, gear box, and bearings; however, it was not developed further.[8]François Isaac de Rivaz, a Swiss inventor, designed the first internal combustion engine, in 1806, which was fueled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen and used it to develop the world's first vehicle, albeit rudimentary, to be powered by such an engine. The design was not very successful, as was the case with others such as Samuel Brown, Samuel Morey, and Etienne Lenoir with his hippomobile, who each produced vehicles (usually adapted carriages or carts) powered by clumsy internal combustion engines.[9]In November 1881 French inventor Gustave Trouvé demonstrated a working three-wheeled automobile that was powered by electricity. This was at the International Exhibition of Electricity in Paris.[10]Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern automobile


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