Automobiles are one of the most common forms of transportation. Designed for passenger and goods transport, the modern automobile is a complex technical system. They can be built with thousands of component parts. These include an engine, chassis, body, drivetrain, and emission control systems. There are many different types of automobiles, including passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and motorbikes.
Cars are four wheeled, usually passenger-oriented, and usually run on gasoline or diesel. Some automobiles also have a battery. The type of vehicle you use depends on your location and desired usage. In the United States, for example, passenger cars are the primary family transportation.
Motorcycles are three wheeled, often self propelling, and are not typically marketed as automobiles. Many people use the term “motorcycle” interchangeably with “automobile.” But the NHTSA defines a motorcycle as a motor vehicle with motive power, a seat for the rider, and a steering wheel. While this definition isn’t exactly clear, the motorcycle industry has been working to clarify this definition for many years.
For a long time, a motorcycle was defined as a bicycle-like contraption with an engine. This definition was later changed to “a motor vehicle with motive power,” based on the fact that a motorcycle has a seat for the rider and a steering wheel.
When it comes to vehicle definitions, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is the agency that regulates vehicles, to clarify the difference between an automobile and a motorcycle. Signed by Troy Balderson, Doug Lamborn, and Glenn “GT” Thompson, the letter asks for clarity on the use of the terms.
In its letter, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to clarify the use of the terms, and to take into account the increasing number of three-wheeled vehicles on the market. As the popularity of motorcycles has grown, legal matters surrounding the definition of an automobile have become nitpicky.
The term automobile was first used in the mid-Victorian era to describe a similar machine created by Sylvester Howard Roper. However, it wasn’t until the 1890s that a series production motorcycle was made by the German automakers Hildebrand and Wolfmuller.
After the first commercial motorcycle was produced by the German firm, more inventors tried to improve on the technology. A few of these improvements include the invention of an internal combustion engine, which was patented the same year that the bike was.
The earliest motorcycles had only two wheels, which were designed to resemble a velocipede. By the early twentieth century, a few automakers had begun to present aircraft-inspired body styles.
Today, automobiles are still an important part of society. Approximately 70 million new passenger cars are built worldwide each year. Among these, approximately one-quarter are in the United States. Vehicle manufacturers have continued to innovate, using advanced manufacturing processes to produce a wide variety of vehicles. New designs and technologies have helped to reduce costs, create more space, and make transportation safer.