A car or automobile is a self-propelled road vehicle typically with four wheels, designed to carry a small number of passengers inside. Most cars are powered by an internal combustion engine that runs on fuel, an electric motor run by rechargable batteries, or a hybrid of the two.
The first successful gasoline-powered automobile was built by Karl Benz in Germany in 1885; he would later found Mercedes-Benz. During the early 1910s in the U.S., Henry Ford heavily streamlined the existing large-scale automobile assembly line and the concept of interchangeable parts in his Detroit factory. Ford's economically priced Model T helped popularize the car among the vast American populace as well. These breakthroughs led to the rise of a lucrative automotive industry with numerous manufacturers existing worldwide today.
Essentially mere motorized carriages in their initial form, cars have enjoyed many innovations since the automobile industry began to grow in the early 1900s. Today's cars feature state-of-the-art navigation, safety, sound, temperature and transmission systems, not to mention powerful engines. In recent years, manufacturers have begun building engines run by cleaner energy sources such as biodiesel and electricity, so as to minimize the noxious fumes cars emit into the atmosphere. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)