The word 'automobile' comes from the combination of the French 'auto', which means self and the Latin word 'mobilis', which means moving. The term, at the very base of understanding, stands for a vehicle that moves by itself. The history of cars spans the centuries from the days of the 'egged' and 'cranked' models to the existent sophisticated ones. These wheeled 'passenger carriers' are motored and designed to run primarily on roads. The term 'car' is synonymous with the understanding that the vehicle can seat anywhere between one to eight people and has four wheels. The primary function is transportation of people; however, it is different from the other public modes of transport.
Its history dates back to the year 1672, when Ferdinand Verbiest built the first ever steam powered car, in China. He was an experimentalist and a Jesuit on a mission. Ever since the models and powering components only kept getting better. In 1769, Nicholas Cugnot designed and built the first self-propelled vehicle, which was a three-wheeler. There has been much debate though on whether or not there is evidence to prove that the model even worked. The first ever automobile or car with an internal combustion engine was designed by Swiss genius Francois Isaac Rivaz. This vehicle was fueled with a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen!
It was in 1881, that Trouve, a French inventor designed and demonstrated the working model of a three-wheeled automobile at the International Exhibition of Electricity, Paris. The gasoline powered automobile was designed and built by Karl Beinz in 1885, in Germany. This earliest model of the modern car was granted a patent in 1886 and the rest is history! Karl Benz is universally accepted as the 'Inventor of the modern automobile'. Beinz did not stop at that and went on to design other vehicles with the internal combustion engine. He went on to patent his first creation of the internal combustion flat engine in 1896.
Benz vehicles were built to be powered by four-stroke engines. The designed found its way across Europe with the help of Emile Roger of France and Daimler and Maybach. The popular Daimler Motor Company, DMG, under the brand name of 'Daimler' in 1892, sold their first automobile. Amazingly, Benz and Daimler are on record as being oblivious to the existence of each other's early work! Daimler Mercedes and famous Mercedes line of cars was initiated with an order placed for the design by Emil Jellinek, after the death of Daimler in 1900. The Maybach design was produced and named Mercedes after the engine.
The economic conditions in Germany following the First World War, played a major role in the tie up between Benz and Cie and Daimler, something that has given the world the luxury car line of the Mercedes Benz. In 1924, they signed an agreement that was valid until 2000. They standardized the design, production, sales and advertising campaigns, still maintaining their respective brands. The history of the Peugeot dates back to 1890, when Emile Levassor and Armand Peugeot began the production of special designs with Daimler engines, in France. The first American design with a gasoline internal combustion engine made a market appearance due to the effort of George Selden, in New York, in 1877.
Britain has seen several attempts to build steam cars. However, Santler is credited with having designed and built the first petrol-powered car in the country, in 1894. The first major production of vehicles in Britain was by the Daimler Motor Company, with their first cars sizzling on the roads by 1897. In 1897, the first ever diesel engine powered automobile was German engineered by Rudolf Diesel. The competition between the steam, electric and gasoline-powered automobiles remained steady and lasted for decades. However, in good time and after a number of alterations and awarded credibility, the gasoline internal combustion engines achieved the deserved dominance by 1910.