In the year 1769, a French engineer by the name of Nicolas J. Cugnot invented the first automobile to run on roads. This automobile, in fact, was a self-powered, three-wheeled, military tractor that made the use of a steam engine. The range of the automobile, however, was very brief and at the most, it could only run at a stretch for fifteen minutes. In addition, these automobiles were not fit for the roads as the steam engines made them very heavy and large, and required ample starting time. Oliver Evans was the first to design a steam engine driven automobile in the U.S.
A Scotsman, Robert Anderson, was the first to invent an electric carriage between 1832 and 1839. However, Thomas Davenport of the U.S.A. and Scotsman Robert Davidson were amongst the first to invent more applicable automobiles, making use of non-rechargeable electric batteries in 1842. Development of roads made travelling comfortable and as a result, the short ranged, electric battery driven automobiles were no more the best option for travelling over longer distances.
Charles Kettering's invention of the electric starter in 1912, turned the process of starting automobiles more faster and easier at the same time, doing away with the hand tools. Crude oil being discovered in Texas, the automobiles driven by engines that ran on gasoline became even more affordable, as the prices of gasoline reduced. The prices of electric automobiles were going through a constant rise, in spite of the fact that these were less efficient than the gasoline automobiles.
Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir was the first to invent an internal combustion engine that ran on petroleum and attached it to a three-wheeled carriage, and successfully traversed a distance of fifty miles in 1863.
Karl Benz manufactured the first automobile ( a three-wheeled car) that was affordable and compatible for travelling over long distances for its internal combustion engine that ran on gas, in 1886.Later in 1887, Gottlieb Daimler was the first to invent the predecessor of the modern automobile with an engine that had a vertical cylinder in addition to a gasoline driven carburetor. First building a two-wheeled automobile (“Reitwagen”) , Daimler was again the first to build a four-wheeled automobile in 1886. The engines manufactured by Daimler were improved upon and these portable and fast engines made automobiles the way we see them today.
The advanced engines turned the slow, expensive automobiles of the yesteryears, a thing of the past, and cars became more affordable as both the prices of gasoline and petroleum as well as the manufacturing costs reduced through their mass manufacture at the assembly lines of factories. Penhard and Levassor in 1889, and Peugeot in 1991 became the earliest mass manufacturers of the modern automobiles.