Automobiles and Their Systems

Few inventions in modern times have had such a powerful impact on the history of industry, technology and everyday life as the automobile. Its power of long-distance travel confers a freedom of movement on individual owners that has profoundly changed the structure and dynamics of societies. Its flexibility of distribution of goods has brought new jobs and economic prosperity to many industries. Its environmental costs, however, have proved far greater than expected.

The automobile is powered by an engine that uses a chemical fuel to produce electricity and then uses the electricity to turn the wheels of the car. The wheels are connected to the axles by suspension systems that absorb the shock of the road surface. The engine also drives an electrical system that operates the lights, radio, and other accessories. The vehicle must be able to respond quickly to changing road conditions and the driver’s inputs. It must be able to operate on all types of roads, including highways, city streets, and country lanes.

Automobiles come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. The major systems include the engine, drive, chassis, electrical and cooling systems, wheels and tires, and body. These systems are designed to interact with and support each other. Many automobiles have additional features such as power steering and brakes. Some have air conditioning, heated seats, and even computer controls. To be competitive, the design of an automobile must balance a number of factors such as price, function, economy, and quality.