The Evolution of Cars: From Steam to Self-driving

The automobile has become an almost inseparable part of human life. Everyone wants to own a private car not just for traveling but also as a status symbol. Hence, the number of vehicles on the road is constantly rising. In fact, there are around 281.6 million units of vehicles in operation in the U.S.A., and why not? It has become easier than ever to own a private car.

There are installments, premium offers, and even sales options to quickly get yourself a new automobile. For instance, you can easily buy a new Honda car if you search the Internet. Similarly, any brands’ vehicle is now easily purchasable with just a few finger clicks. Well, there’s a huge demand for today’s modern cars. But do you know when all of it started? Don’t stress your head. I am here to discuss that very thing. In this post, we will be going through the evolution of cars.

The Journey of Cars from Steam to Self-driving

The automobile’s evolution is interesting as it started with steam and electricity and now completes a full circle to be back at using electricity. Here’s the impeccable journey of the cars.

1. The era of steam and electricity

Do you think that electric vehicles are a new concept that arose due to gasoline depletion issues? If yes, you are wrong. Steam and electricity were used to power the very first automobile that came into existence. In 1769, the first steam-powered automobile was built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. Steam was, until then, already being used for powering trains. However, the issue with steam-powered vehicles was that they took a long time to get started.

The problem of starting the vehicle paved the way for electric vehicles (EVs) that came around in the early 1800s. But these EVs came to the mainstream only in the late 1800s when William Morrison built the first EV in the U.S.A.

2. The birth of the gasoline-powered car

While steam and electric automobiles started well back in the 1700s, the first gas-powered car was manufactured in 1885. It was Karl Benz who developed this automobile and received a patent for the same in January 1986. However, it was a three-wheeled car, more like an elongated tricycle.

Karl created many copies of his car. But the actual mass production started when Ford Motor Company entered the business and made the most remembered car of that era, the Ford Model T, in 1908. Even William Durant founded General Motors and entered the market. Ford Model T became the first massively produced car on a moving assembly line.

Between 1908 and 1927, Ford Model T completely revolutionized the automotive industry by producing over 250,000 units.

At that time, the engines of electric vehicles were expensive. Thus, gasoline-powered cars started gaining more importance and became mainstream as gasoline became cheap with its discovery in Texas. Today, the opposite is true as the gasoline price is constantly increasing and new EVs are coming into the market.

3. The post-World-War-II market

World War II temporarily halted the automotive industry. But with the end of the war, the automotive industry across the world started gaining new shape. Some primary highlights of the post World War II automotive era include:

  • Production and sale of 10,000 Volkswagen Beetle units in 1946
  • Ralph Teeter gave birth to cruise control in the year 1948
  • Eight cylinder V motors became popular in the U.S.A. in 1949
  • 1963 saw the advent of the Porsche 911, becoming one of the most prominent sports cars in the history
  • Maserati Bora, the fastest car reaching 180 miles (289.68 km) an hour, was launched in 1978
  • GPS and navigation system’s use started in 1995

4. The modern-day car


The advent of what we can say modern-day cars started in the early 2000s. This was when many players started putting new designs and models into the market to gain prominence. The era also marks technology playing a vital role in shaping the automotive industry.

Several new features were included in different models of many brands. For instance, in 2003, Toyota offered an auto-parking system in its Prius. Similarly, this era marked the introduction of many new features in our modern-day cars.

5. The future holds the self-driving car

With the advancement in technology, especially with AI coming into the market, the world moves toward driverless cars. Several tech giants, including Google and Tesla, have already embraced the journey of AI-powered self-driving cars. There’s no denying that autonomous vehicles are set to disrupt the automotive industry.

As you can see, the journey of automobile evolution is crazy. It has now become mainstream, and almost every alternative house has a car within it. However, this is not the end. As technology grows, we are surely going to see many such automobile revolutions in the future.

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