Everything You Need to Know About Cars
For some, cars are used to travel from point A to point B. For enthusiasts, cars are everything. Cars are so significant in today’s world as they allow us to travel large distances comfortably, safely, and they save us so much time. Cars continue to evolve and adapt to social norms as new demands, trends, and social norms are considered such as a greener shift from gas engines to rechargeable batteries.
So who made the first car? The topic is very controversial since Ford and Mercedes-Benz made cars in the 19th century. Karl Benz is credited for building a car, while Henry Ford combined the assembly line with car building. An assembly line is workers and machines in a factory in which a sequence of parts is assembled. Benz’s car was patented in 1886 and produced 0.75 horsepower, not even one horsepower! Benz’s wife and his children traveled 180 kilometers (approximately 112 miles) in Germany in the car. Benz improved his automobile by including a steering system and making the car 20 times more powerful than the last engine with a 16 horsepower engine.
Since the production of the first car, cars have dramatically evolved from being able to drive themselves and have revolutionized the concept of both luxury and speed. A well-known brand known as Tesla is the largest competitor of electric vehicles and self-driving technology. With the rise of electric cars, Tesla has made a name for itself as it is affordable and has excellent performance. Although electric cars are a greener approach to transportation, there is still a large demand and allure to various models of gas-engine cars.
Today, there are approximately 1.2 billion gas engine cars. Most cars on the road have four or six cylinders. Performance cars have 8, 10, or 12 cylinders. Vehicles with 4 or 6 cylinders have low horsepower and torque, while vehicles with 8-12 cylinders can have high horsepower and torque. What are horsepower and torque? Horsepower is the amount of power an engine can produce. Torque is a twisting force that is available when an engine pushes itself. Torque is measured by pound-feet (lb-ft) in the United States. Gas engines can be paired with two different types of transmission, automatic and manual. Automatic transmissions are found in most cars on the road today since they are straightforward to drive and require no input from the driver besides changing gears from Park to Reverse To Neutral to Drive. A manual transmission is unique as the driver changes the gears instead of the car. A manual transmission has a third pedal in a vehicle known as the clutch and has a stick shifter used to change the gears. It is a lot of work, but it is enjoyable. In the movie series Fast & Furious, many of the characters are seen shifting gears endlessly, showing satisfaction and the badassness of the motion! The series overplays gear shifting because not many people know about cars. Most modern manual transmissions have six gears while older manuals have five.
A car that has become very popular is the BMW 2013-2018 340i. This car comes with 320 horsepower, 330 lb-ft of torque, averages 26 miles per gallon, weighs around 3,555 pounds, and can be configured with an automatic or manual transmission. The car is very affordable for the specs as it can cost from $20,000-25,000. With the great power it produces, the 340i can travel from 0-60 in only 4.6 seconds! The 340i can be modified to increase fuel efficiency and power thanks to mechanics and engineers. The car can make up to 800 horsepower, 700lb-ft of torque, and can do a 0-60 in less than 2.8 seconds.
Although cars can be expensive, they are worth every dollar. Most performance cars are manufactured by European or American brands, rather than Asian because Asian brands focus on making their vehicles comfortable, affordable, and reliable. According to KBB, the top 10 reliable car brands are Japanese. Most European and American brands are unreliable because they produce new cars every year with a lot of new technology that has not been thoroughly tested. A reason why electric vehicles are good is that their maintenance cost is cheap. There is a constant shift in cars, from gas-engine to electric vehicles (EVs) to more hybrid structures. A hybrid vehicle uses a fuel-efficient engine, electric motors, and a battery to maximize fuel economy and power. The battery in a hybrid car is charged when the car slows down, or when the driver is off the accelerator and just cruising. A plug-in-hybrid uses similar technology, but the car can be plugged into a wall charger to charge the battery as well. This allows the vehicle to get better fuel economy than a hybrid. Also, a plug-in-hybrid can run off the battery for up to 50 miles on most cars. A fully electric vehicle is similar to a plug-in-hybrid, but there’s no engine, just a massive battery, and electric motors! With a large battery, the center of gravity can be lowered, reducing the chances of a car flipping and thus, increasing the safety rating. Also, a large battery can increase acceleration. For example, the base model Tesla Model 3 has a 5.8 second 0-60, which is very good for the price point.
Electric cars are being produced rapidly because of the damage gas engine cars cause to the environment. “The vapors given off when gasoline evaporates and the substances produced when gasoline is burned (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons) contribute to air pollution. Burning gasoline also produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas” (EIA, 2021). The greenhouse gasses emissions produced by electric vehicles in their lifetime are typically less than the average emissions produced by gas engine cars.
So, what would you prefer? Buying an economy car, a performance car, or an electric car? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the car market is crazy, resulting in a seller’s market. This means that sellers can charge consumers whatever price and they can even demand more money than what they used to ask for three years ago. If you are in the market for a car right now, do lots of research before buying a car and if you really don’t need a car right now, please don’t buy one!
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Featured Image via Alex Suprun