Self propolled cars

A car or car (‘self-propelled’, i.e. a car without a draught animal) (car from Greek car ‘self’ and Latin mobile ‘moving’) is an independently-propelled, driving means of transport.

For the propulsion, mainly internal combustion engines are used, which are powered by the combustion of fossil fuels. Alternative propulsion systems include hybrid propulsion, and electric propulsion using batteries or a fuel cell as a source of energy.

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Over the years, numerous car brands and other models have appeared on the market. Due to the amount of cars, and their intensive use, there are traffic jams, mainly at so-called junctions.

In the Netherlands, motor vehicles regularly have to undergo a general periodic inspection (APV) in order to be allowed to use the roads. In Belgium, this concerns the automobile inspection.

Since the car was developed from, among other things, the coach, the bodies of cars used to be made of wood, leather and reed (as far as known, only the Hanomag 2/10 PS, also known as Kommissbrot, the Beacon and the Bisacar). Nowadays, metal or plastic is usually chosen. A car usually has four wheels that (nowadays) are equipped with pneumatic tires (radial tires to be precise). Occasionally there are three, six or eight wheels.

Cugnot steam vehicle from 1771, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris.

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The first car with a petrol engine was developed by Benz in 1885.
The word automobile is a French loan word and comes from automobile. This comes from Greek and Latin. The first part of the word (auto) comes from the Greek αυτος and means itself. The second part of the word (mobile) comes from the Latin movere and means move. The automobile as we know it today gradually emerged from the horse-drawn carriages and the bicycle.

The very first forerunner of the cars were probably the sailing cars, which in the 18th century in Europe already under favourable conditions could reach a very considerable speed. There are even sources that indicate that under the Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhat III, in the second millennium B.C., sailing vans already existed.

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Before the use of the modern internal combustion engine, steam engines were used. One of the most famous designers of the steam car is Nicolas Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804). This officer used his steam car for assignments within the army. Gurney also designed a steam car in 1832 for the connection between Gloucester and Cheltenham in England. The usual speed at that time was about 25 kilometres per hour. A similar development could be seen in the Netherlands, where Sibrandus Stratingh from Groningen did a (successful) experiment with a steam car in 1834. Until the invention of the combustion engine, the steam car developed gradually, but it could not compete with the combustion engine. The advantages of this engine were mainly a much lower weight and less fuel consumption for more power. This made the advance of this type of engine unstoppable.
François Isaac de Rivaz, a Swiss inventor, designed the first combustion engine using hydrogen gas as fuel in 1806. In 1862, the Belgian Etienne Lenoir built his first car, the hippomobile, with a hydrogen combustion engine. It was only when the German Nikolaus Otto made improvements in 1878 that the Lenoir gas engine became a commercial success. Further major modifications were made by his compatriot Gottlieb Daimler with his patent on the first successful high-speed combustion engine (1885). The biggest improvements to the heavy oil engine were made by Rudolf Diesel, also from Germany, who received his first patents in 1892. By the end of the 19th century, the internal combustion engine was the main competitor of the steam engine in industry and transport.
In 1885 Carl Benz built the (three-wheel) car equipped with a petrol engine. This vehicle was the start of the development and breakthrough of this type of internal combustion engine.
The first car built in Belgium was the Vincke and the first car built in the Netherlands was the Eysink. It is not known which brand of car was the first passenger car in the Netherlands, but it is known that the industrialist Jos Bogaers had bought the car and would have driven it on 17 December 1895.
Types of cars

From top to bottom: Sedan, station wagon, Hatchback
There are different types of cars. Apart from trucks, vans, campers and buses, there are differences in the passenger cars.

Sedan; is a body shape with two or four doors and a boot lid where the boot or trunk cannot usually be reached via the driver’s area. On the outside it can be recognised by 3 “compartments”, on the front low where the engine is located, in the middle high where the passengers are seated, on the back low where the trunk is (usually) located.

Hatchback; a car in which the driver’s compartment is reached via the boot/trunk.

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