Automobiles were developed in the late 1800s and were based on the internal combustion engine, first invented by Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in the late 1600s. The first automobiles were essentially horseless carriages, but incorporated the internal combustion engine for more power and range. They had to be started manually, and the speed of these vehicles was limited to four miles per hour. Before the turn of the century, battery-powered electric cars were still uncommon, and were often hard to find.
Motorcycles were originally bicycles. By the 19th century, many bicycle manufacturers attempted to develop a self-propelled carriage. The motorcycle was the answer. Edward Butler built the first commercial three-wheeler in 1884, incorporating a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine, steerable front wheels, and a drive chain to the rear wheel.
Transmissions on motorcycles typically have four or six gears, but small motorcycles may only have two gears. The power is transmitted via a chain, and is sometimes transferred by belts or shafts. Gears control the speed and torque of the wheels. This is especially important for starting and running the vehicle. There are three main types of transmissions: manual, automatic, and dual-clutch.
Automobiles have become an important form of transportation for families. They are more common than ever, with 1.4 billion vehicles worldwide. Nearly half are made by foreign manufacturers. As a result, manufacturers are able to introduce new designs more often. In fact, 70 million new automobiles are produced each year around the world.