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The Benz Patent-Motorwagen is regarded as the World's First 'Production' Automobile. It was built by Karl Friedrich Benz in 1885. The Benz Patent-Motorwagen was in production from 1886 to 1893. The world's first car had only three wheels and looked nothing like the cars we see today.
The world's first production car was also the world's first petrol-powered car. Before that, a lot of inventors had tried to replace the then conventional horse carts with self-propelling vehicles. These include steam engines and even electric carriages. Coming to the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, it was the first automobile which could run without much issues and could be sold to the general public. Here are some interesting facts about the World's First Production Automobile, The Benz Patent-Motorwagen!
Benz Patent-Motorwagen Specifications
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen was powered by a 954cc 4-stroke single-cylinder petrol engine. Peak power stood at 0.9bhp @ 400rpm (0.75bhp as per the original records). The car was also very light, at 100kg. Later models of the world's first car had a power figureof 1.5bhp and 2bhp, respectively. The engine was mated to a single-speed transmission, which came in the form a simple belt drive.
Initially, the Motorwagen had an evaporative cooling system. The water used in the cooling system was simply lost as steam. Hence, the amount of water required for the automobile to go long distances was very high. Later, when the demand for the Benz Patent-Motorwagen became high, a closed-loop cooling system was introduced.
The Top Speed Of The World's First Car
The most powerful version of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen had a top speed of just 16km/h. To put things into perspective, an average man has a running speed of 45km/h. So, if you walk in a hurry, there was once a car you can beat.
The World's First Car's Mileage
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen had an evaporative carburettor to feed the engine with fuel and air. The carburettor also acted as a 4.5-litre fuel reservoir. Altogether the world's first car had a mileage of just 10km/l.
The Incredible Feat Of The Benz Patent-Motorwagen
In 1888, Karl Benz's wife, Bertha Benz and their two sons, Eugene and Richard made the first known long-distance trip in an automobile. The trio started from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Bertha's place of birth. The journey ranged almost 180 kilometres. The trip had a lot of importance as it proved the usability of the world's first production car.
What Was It Like To Drive The World's First Automobile?
The three-wheeler was simple to drive. But compared to today's cars, it could've been a strange experience. The small and upright handlebar functioned just like a bicycle. The front forks didn't have a suspension while the rear wheels were attached to the frame by a rigid axle along with elliptic springs.
The car had only a forward gear and no reverse. A belt-drive connecting the driving pulley (flywheel) and the driven pulley acted as the transmission. The gear was engaged by shifting the other side of the belt from the idler pulley (disc which rotates freely) to the driven pulley (disc that connects the rear drive system). The accelerator was a sleeve valve under the driver's seat. The automobile was braked using a hand lever. The brakes acted on the belt drive and not on the wheels.
Luxuries came in the form of a leather bench seat and a polished wooden floor. The wheels resembled that of a bicycle. In short, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen was nothing like a modern car.
Thoughts On The World's First Production Automobile
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen cannot be regarded as a car, but as an automobile. It was nothing like the cars we see today. However, Karl Benz was the first person in the world to prove the concept of a self-propelled vehicle which can be used daily. Although there were many automobile prototypes made before it, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen was the true World's First Production Automobile.