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How did the early predecessors of the cars we drive in now used to look like? How have these automobiles been transformed and innovated as years passed by? Well, they might seem more different, or even weirder, than you think.
Today’s cars come in various sizes, shapes, modifications, and even functionalities and features. There are the cars that have already established themselves among us, like dual-cab utes, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), hatchbacks, minivans, and compact cars. And, there are some more that seem to be ahead of their times. Well, you must have heard of self-driving cars, self-parking cars, convertibles, and a lot more that fascinates you and all of us alike.
The cars we have today are very far from how it looked like, how it used to be, and what its capabilities were. If you are to reimagine how the cars of the yesteryear appeared, you might describe it absurdly, such as big wheels, wagon-like frames, and being powered by steam.
Electric-powered cars aren’t a new thing - it has long existed, before we knew about it! They now come in the brands of Ford, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and even Tesla to name a few. The earliest automobiles actually ran on a combination of steam and electricity, back in the early 18th century.
Steam is a power source that we are familiar with, which was utilised by trains. As the century rolled on, scientists and developers found out steam can be used to power smaller vehicles. Although the innovation was already there, it was still a diamond in the rough, and additionally, its range was limited.
At the turn of the century, by the early 1800s, inventors around the world joined in on the fun and developed their respective models for electric-powered buggies. England and France led the charge by creating vehicles that were closer to its modern-day EV counterparts, but it was in America that its development and advent became inevitable.
William Morrison devised the first-ever electric car in the United States. This one had speeds up to 14 miles per hour and could fit six people. Although the model was still a prototype, it sparked some interest among the Americans.
A decade into its development, it was in a full takeover mode across US streets. The popularity was driven by its ease of driving. These cars weren’t as difficult to start as their steam counterparts and it didn’t involve difficult gear shifts. Additionally, it wasn’t noisy to operate and didn’t contribute to air pollution.
Then, Ferdinand Porsche came up with something revolutionary - creating the first hybrid vehicle that combined electricity and gas. This particular blueprint would set the tone for what was to come for these automobiles.
But before Porsche’s namesake, it was Karl Benz who first invented the earliest gas-powered car. It had three wheels and resembled an elongated tricycle that was also a two-seater. Four-wheeled gas-powered cars were soon introduced before the century’s turn - the beginning of the vehicular revolution in America.
Unlike the ones we’re seeing now, early cars didn’t have windshields, doors, turn signals, or even a round steering wheel. But through Karl Benz’s initiative, more inventors came up with their own versions of the car, in an attempt to satisfy its current shortcomings. The machine that runs the car was one, as it was too expensive to produce.
And then came Henry Ford.
The innovative mind of Henry Ford ushered the start of the new era for cars. His 1908 Model T started to appear like the cars of tomorrow. The production woes were also remedied thanks to his invention of the assembly line. The gas-powered Model T soon became an affordable car for the public.
Along with its mass production, these cars were soon equipped with the functionalities they still possesses today, such as speedometers, seatbelts, windshields, and rear view mirrors. Power steering, cruise control, three-point seatbelts, and heated comfy seats also soon got added into these cars.
In 1973, a huge safety innovation was introduced for cars, with Oldsmobile’s installation of passenger airbags into their Tornado model. As years went by, several vehicle regulation agencies around the world required car manufacturers to make airbags a standard on their vehicle line.
With the advent of the digital age, it also soon began to be integrated with cars. Examples of which are keyless entry systems, electric doors and windows, sunroofs, and infotainment systems that first came as CD players.
Now, we can go back to our cars and see some more add-ons that ushered in as of late - from Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS tracking systems, hard drives, advanced safety systems, and even the self-driving and self-parking capabilities.
As you can see, those features used to be somewhat a luxury for these cars but with the recent technological advancements, it is impossible to single out technology from driving these cars to the foreseeable, exciting future of all these.
And, last note, you can also buy cars online now, without the need to even go to a showroom, which is yet another wonder of technology for automobiles. Check out the best cars driven by modernity and passion right here at www.motormatcher.com.au.