From the horse to the car

The VW beetle, after the VW golf the best selling car in the world. Pexels, pixabay

Mobility is a basic need of mankind. Since time immemorial, we have tried to move around as easily, quickly and far as possible with the help of aids. There is a long history behind today’s cars.

In everyday life, hardly anything is possible without mobility – often the workplace is not in the same place as the place of residence. We also like to change our location for leisure activities. This is not only socially predetermined, but also ingrained in us: being on the road helps us find our identity.

It all began with animals

The history of mobility is strongly linked to human cultural history. After people had lived as hunters and gatherers, from about. 11’500 v.Chr. The neolithic age. Humans settled down and began to farm and domesticate animals and plants. This development started in the eastern mediterranean region. From 5’600 b.Chr. The so-called Neolithic revolution also took place in Central Europe and slowly spread further west and north. Initially, oxen, pigs, sheep and goats served as the main domestic animals. It is unclear when the horse was first domesticated. According to estimates, around. 3’500 v.Chr. The value of horses as pack, draught and riding animals recognized. From then on, there was no stopping horses; they made a major contribution to man’s mobility. They were also used as riding and pack animals during wars.

Horses also played an important role as draught animals with the spread of carriages. Mobility on land thus took on a new dimension. From the 2nd century onwards, the Romans were already familiar with the.century. N.Chr. Suspended travel vehicles. Especially from the age of 15. c. Carriages continue to evolve. They became a status symbol and were the most important means of transport in europe until the end of the 19th century. Century. It became possible to travel in comfort for longer periods of time. However, carriages were not only private travel vehicles: from the 17th century onward, they were also used for travel. Century. Passengers could travel in stagecoaches. Thus it was a first form of public transport.

From horse to car

Automobiles eventually replaced animal-drawn vehicles to a large extent – they are more efficient and faster. The german engineer gottlieb daimler, who brought the first gasoline-powered passenger car onto the market, was therefore wrong in his assumption:

"worldwide demand for motor vehicles will not exceed one million – if only for lack of available chauffeurs."

Gottlieb wilhelm daimler

However, the first vehicles not powered by muscle power were steam cars. in 1769, the frenchman nicholas cugnot presented his vehicle with water vapor propulsion. However, it was difficult to steer and had no brakes. The steam-powered vehicles were worked on until the 19th century. Jh. Further tinkering. Steam-powered cars were soon rivaled by two other drive systems: electric and internal combustion engines.

The first flowering of electric cars

Even before the first cars with internal combustion engines, there were electric cars. in the 1830s, the scotsman robert anderson built what is believed to be the first electric vehicle – essentially a cart with a motor and battery. A little closer to our present-day idea of a passenger car was that of the german car manufacturer andreas flocken, who brought his electrically powered automobile onto the market in 1888. electric cars were especially popular because of their low noise production and ease of handling.

Displacement by internal combustion engines

comparatively late, automobiles powered by combustion were developed. Gottlieb daimler invented the first high-speed gasoline engine and built a gasoline-powered motorized carriage in 1886. Another german automobile pioneer was carl friedrich benz. his benz patent motorcar number 1 was three-wheeled and is considered the forerunner of the automobile. Gradually, the cars were produced in series. Initially, they were considered too noisy and smelly, but from 1910 they managed to largely displace steam and electric vehicles from the market. As vehicles developed, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages: fuel was cheap, they were easier to operate, and they had a long range. The network of gas stations was established at the beginning of the 20th century. Jh. Large-scale expansion – cars with internal combustion engines conquered the world.

What is the situation today?

In the 1990s, research on electric motors increased again, because the ecological disadvantage of gasoline propulsion and the scarcity of crude oil were recognized. Since then, electric cars have once again become more important in passenger transport: in 2017, more than 14,500 electric cars were again on the roads in switzerland – 19 times more than in 2000. In addition, more than 67,000 hybrid vehicles were in use last year. However, cars with purely internal combustion engines still dominate the market: there are over 3.1 million gasoline-powered vehicles and around 1.3 million diesel cars in switzerland.

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Christina Cherry
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