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Ian Philbrick
Mr. Conrad
ERWC, Period 5
22 April 2016

The Future of the Automobile
The first automobile was created in 1886 by Karl benz, who put a small engine on a three
wheeled wagon. This seemingly simple creation was one of the most revolutionary inventions
which changed the way that people around the world live. Within a few years there was a boom
of car manufacturing companies, but nearly all of them used Daimler-Maybach engines. The
Daimler-Maybach engine was said to be the fastest and most efficient of that time. It drastically
shaped the auto industry by making the base design that is still used to this day. At first it was
only available to the wealthy who would drive them as a leisure activity, but as manufacturing
became cheaper and more efficient, with the introduction of the assembly line, owning a car was
more of a possibility for the general public People began relying on cars to commute and to get
them where they need to go. This led to people not needing to live near public transportation,
which allowed cities to take on a new shape as people could live further out, leading to the
forming of suburbs. The introduction of internal combustion powered, personal transportation
had a drastic and almost immediate impact on the daily lives of people.
The first priority of car manufacturers was to make them easy to produce, cheap to sell,
and reliable. Then in the 1920´s, and the following two decades, the focus was all about style.
The way the car looked became an important detail to consumers and therefore manufactures.
These decades are where the highly valuable collector cars come from due to the the beautiful

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designs and paint jobs. World War II began the movement where people became obsessed with
cars that were big and fast. Big car, big engine, a lot of speed, and little concern for fuel
consumption. It was the golden age of the automobile.
In recent decades however, the car has seemed to have lost its charm. As soon as cars
went from the mean, jagged, square front and rear end and moved to the rounded bubble look we
are familiar with now, the era of stunning and jaw dropping looks had been replaced with dull
practicality. This is not necessarily a
bad thing, the big gas guzzling beasts
were replaced with smaller, better
engineered and more fuel efficient cars.
The impact on the environment by cars
during times where there was little to
no smog regulations produced a very sizeable amount of damage to the atmosphere and other
aspects of the planet. Cars have given up size and speed for lightness and efficiency. Even
vehicles which one would expect to have a large engine have trended towards smaller engines.
Such as, in 2009 the BMW M5, a powerful brute of a sports car, switched from a naturally
aspirated v10 engine to a turbocharged v8, which makes the car lighter and more fuel efficient.
Even Ford trucks offers a turboed V6 instead of the traditional big block V8. This is in part
because engineers have been able to make engines more efficient, in terms of power. So a
turboed V6 can produce close to the amount of horsepower and torque that an old V8 did. These
are just a few examples of the market-wide trend of downsizing engine size, power, and weight.
This is something that is concerning to people who like fast cars and big trucks. The oldschool
way of making a faster car is to put a bigger engine in it, and seeing the trend of small engines

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may make these people think that cars are getting slower. Fortunately, cars are not getting slower,
they are getting smarter, lighter, better engineered, and most important: faster. For now at least.
One of the biggest advancements in the automotive technology was the popularization of
hybrid vehicles. Hybrid and electric cars have been around since only a few years after internal
combustion powered cars were invented, but did not become refined and practical until the last
few decades. They use to seem like a far off futuristic idea but “With the invention of newer,
denser, and stronger power sources like the lithium-ion battery, hybrids and all-electric vehicles
seem to be not only interesting options but also practical ones” (electric cars). The most popular
hybrid car was, and continues to be, the Toyota Prius. The Prius was revolutionary because its “a
mid-sized hybrid electric vehicle, with enough room for four passengers plus luggage, a top
speed of 100 miles per hour, and overall fuel economy of 56 miles per gallon” (hybrid cars) and
that was extremely practical. This high fuel efficiency is due to the fact that when the car is going
less than fifteen miles per hour, it runs entirely on an electric motor, and when it goes over the
gas engine engages and powers the car as well as recharge the battery. The prius and other
hybrids were the first step towards where we are heading now, which is all vehicles being either
hybrid or completely electric. Some car manufacturers are now offering an electric or hybrid car,
such as the chevy volt, nissan leaf, and the hideous BMW i3(pictured), among many others.
However, what most companies are doing is offering a hybrid or electric version of a car they
already make, such as Honda, which has put a hybrid system in the civic body. This isn't just a
trend among small economy cars, it's also prevalent in high performance cars. In 2013, Mercedes
AMG division made an all electric version of their highest performance vehicle, the SLS. This all
electric version was called the E-SLS. The good news for fans of fast high powered cars is that
the E-SLS is actually more powerful than its internal combustion powered brother. Despite being

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created to offer an environmentally friendly version of AMG’s supercar, it was still faster and
more powerful while achieving the goal of being one hundred percent powered by electricity.
Also in recent years we have seen the biggest names in cars incorporating a hybrid system into
their new models. Maclaren has done this with the P1(pictured), Ferrari with the LaFerrari, and
Porsche with the 918 spyder. These three examples all work basically the same way. They have
multiple modes where they can run entirely on their gas engine or entirely on their electric motor,
or combinations of the two. They have a braking system that turns the momentum of the car into
energy, causing the car to slow down while simultaneously charging the battery. These new
supercars are revolutionary because they are more environmentally friendly while also increasing
performance. These cars gives hope that even if there is a future where gas emissions are
extremely restricted, engineers will always find ways to make
fast, high performance, cars that are more than just the cheapest
most efficient way to get around.
Cars revolutionized the way we live life and get around.
From the first car to now, the car has continued to evolve and
adapt to new wants and needs of society. Now consumers believe that the most important thing is
to have cheap and environmentally friendly cars, and in the future I predict that that ideal will be
even more exaggerated. The car of the future will be small, most likely completely electric, and
focused entirely on comfort. In the future, cities will likely be bigger and more congested, which
will cause more traffic. In heavy traffic, speed and performance are irrelevant so our vehicles
will be small and slow. In fact that has already begun to happen with cars like the smart car or
the toyota IQ.

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With all this incredible technology being put into our vehicles we will need a mechanic
with a masters degree from MIT just to change the oil. The days of working on your car in the
driveway are over. The engine bay of modern cars resembles something you would find on the
international space station rather than a garage. So with new cars not only is driving going to
change, but so is the auto mechanics industry. Cars are being built to last longer and when
something does break they are designed to replace that part instead of repair it. With all the new
computer components there will be computer technicians in every auto shop. There may no
longer be a place for the men and women who work with their hands and go home every night
covered in oil, and they will be replaced by robots and people with computer tablets and pocket
protectors. The rise of smart cars will be the demise of the grease monkey.

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When one thinks of the future of the car, one can not help but see a gloomy and bleak
image of mindless uniformity. It is discouraging to see the freeways flooded with “cookie cutter”
cars that all look the same on our present day roads and I do not see that changing any time soon.
When self driving cars become a reality the majority of cars will lose what is left of their soul
and getting in a car will have the same feeling of getting on a bus or a train. There is a time
coming soon when a generation will not know the joy of driving, or the satisfaction of working
on a car. One can only hope that we have a few more generations of beautiful, awe inspiring,
passion driven vehicles before the
industry shifts to producing cold,
impassionate, cookie cutter cars
justified by statistics and practicality.
But cars do not need to be practical for
everyone; for some they must be
extraordinary. We must keep the spirit
of companies like ferrari, Pagani (pictured), Alfa Romeo, lamborghini, and jaguar alive. We must
also celebrate the impractical cars made for common people, such as the Ford mustang, VW Golf
GTI, or Subaru WRX, because these type of cars may not be around for very much longer.

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Baughman, et al. Vol. 8: 1970-1979. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Student Resources in Context. Web. 6
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"Electric Cars in the Modern World." Electric Cars. Jenny MacKay. Detroit: Lucent Books,
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"German Engineers Develop the Automobile: 1885–1888." Global Events: Milestone Events
Throughout History. Ed. Jennifer Stock. Vol. 4: Europe. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014.
Student Resources in Context. Web. 6 May 2016.

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"Hybrid Cars." Gale Student Resources in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Student Resources in
Context. Web. 6 May 2016.

"Industry: The Automobile." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 3: 19201929. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Student Resources in Context. Web. 6 May 2016.

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