Last updated on October 8th, 2023 at 03:02 am

In 1885, Karl Benz invented the first gas-powered car, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, pioneering the era of internal combustion vehicles and revolutionizing the way the world travels.

A gas-powered car is designed for efficiency. It is easy to fuel, fills up tanks quickly, and is easier to use than other vehicles. It can cover an average of 250-300 miles on a single tank, with low maintenance costs.

Gas-powered cars come with relatively inexpensive maintenance needs such as oil changes, coolant, and transmission fluid. Let’s delve into the history of the invention of the first gas-powered car.

What Is A Gas Powered Car?

A gas-powered car is that which has a gas engine. A gas engine is an internal combustion engine that runs on gaseous fuel, such as coal gas, producer gas, biogas, landfill gas, or natural gas.

In a spark-ignition engine, the fuel gets mixed with air. Then the air-fuel mixture is inducted into the cylinder during the intake process. After the piston compresses the mixture, the spark ignites the fuel, causing combustion. The amplification of the combustion gases pushes the piston during the power stroke.

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History and Development of internal combustion engine 

Since the steam engine was produced, the gas-powered engine that we see today has gone through many experiments and changes.

Christian Huygens’s gunpowder fueled internal combustion engine

A Dutch physicist named Christian Huygens designed an internal combustion engine. His designed engine was fueled with gunpowder. It was created in 1680 but never built.

Hydrogen gas-powered engine by Francois Isaac de Rivaz 

About 40 years after the first steam car Francois Isaac de Rivaz from Switzerland invented an internal combustion engine. He used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen as fuel in 1804. It was the first engine that used internal combustion instead of external combustion powered by hydrogen gas. He built a car with this engine, and it was strong enough to propel the first internal combustion car. But unfortunately, the design was very unsuccessful.

The First gas engine of Samuel Brown

Samuel Brown was an English engineer and inventor. He adapted an old Newcomen steam engine credited with developing it to burn gas. Brown patented it in 1824. It had a capacity of 8,800cc with only four hp.

He tested his engine by using it to propel a vehicle up Shooter’s Hill in 1826. In 1828 his vacuum engine was again exhibited on Hammersmith Road. This time he used the engine of the propelled carriage with several passengers. He has been known as the father of the gas engine.

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Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir

Jean-Joseph Étienne Lenoir was a Belgian French engineer born on January 12, 1822. He developed a double-acting, electric spark-ignition internal combustion engine in 1858. It was fueled by coal gas and patented in 1860. His machine was commercialized in sufficient quantities to make it commercially successful. Though Samuel Brown was the father of the gas engine, Lenoir built the practical gas-fuelled internal combustion engine.

Later, he made several improvements in the engine and used petroleum and a primitive carburetor. In 1863, he installed it into a three-wheeled wagon which made a historic fifty-mile road trip.

Alphonse Beau de Rochas

A French civil engineer named Alphonse Beau de Rochas patented a four-stroke engine in 1862. But he never built that engine.

Siegfried Samuel Marcus 

Siegfried Samuel Marcus was a German inventor. When he was living in Vienna, Austria, he made a one-cylinder engine with a simple carburetor. He attached his machine with a cart. In 1864 his automobile model was displayed at the Vienna Exhibition. After that, several years later, in 1875, his second model was made and driven. He is considered the inventor of the world’s first gasoline-powered vehicle.

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George Brayton

George Brayton was an American engineer. In 1872 he patented a constant pressure internal combustion engine. He built this in1873. The engine initially used vaporized gas but later used liquid kerosene as fuel. It was a two-stroke kerosene engine using two external pumping cylinders.

Eugen Langen & Nicolaus August Otto

Eugen Langen was a German engineer and inventor. He built internal – combustion engines by forming a partnership with another German engineer Nicolaus August Otto in 1864. Their invented engine was more powerful and efficient than Lenoir’s and de Rochas’ designs of gas engines.

Later, Otto improved that engine and patented the improved design in 1867. The first built practical four-stroke internal combustion engine offered the first suitable alternative to the steam engine. In 1867 patented his improved internal-combustion engine design. That design was awarded the Grand Prize at the 1867 Paris World Exhibition. Later this patented four-stroke engine was known as the Otto cycle.

This four-stroke otto cycle engine was later adapted universally for all liquid-fueled automobiles. He made a significant invention in the automobile industry.

Sir Dugald Clerk

Sir Dugald Clerk was a Scottish engineer. He was the first to design the world’s first successful two-stroke engine with a spark plug. He created it in 1878 and patented it in 1881 in England. It was the first commercial engine after the Lenoir engine. This motor could successfully use compression and combust fuel in the cylinder.

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Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville Gas Engine Car 

Delamare-Deboutteville was one of the inventors of gas engines and designed the car driven by an internal combustion engine. He was a French engineer. In 1883 he built a single-cylinder four-stroke engine. It was patented in 1884. Though the design did not achieve commercial success, it was very advanced at that time.

Gottlieb Daimlers Reitwagen

1885 – Gottlieb Daimler invented the prototype of the modern gas engine. He created a carburetor that mixed gasoline with air allowing its use as fuel. This design was patented in1887. With this engine, he built a two-wheeled vehicle and named it Reitwagen. After one year, he made the world’s first four-wheeled motor vehicle in 1886.

In 1889 Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach built an improved first four-cylinder four-stroke engine with mushroom-shaped valves and two V-slant cylinders and named it Stahlradwagen. It was presented in Paris in October 1889 and licensed for production in France. This new automobile design had a four-speed transmission and obtained speeds of about ten mph.

Karl Benz

Karl Benz was the most important name in the invention of the gas-powered engine. He was a German inventor and engineer. He, separately from Daimler, designed and built the first practical automobile with an internal-combustion engine powered by gas fuel in the same year as Daimler in 1885. It was driven in the same year. One year later, the car was moved in 1886, and he received the patent for a gas-fueled car on January 29.

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