Auto Propulsion History, Softhard Solutions Car Business Software
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Automobile Propulsion History, Auto History Firsts, Auto History Beginnings

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Vehicle propulsion refers to the act of moving an artificial carrier of people or goods over a distance by some kind of means, by some kind of power.

The power plant used to drive the vehicles can vary widely. The Automobile Propulsion History dates well back. Originally, humans or animals would have provided the means of Vehicle propulsion, later being supplemented by wind power (eg. sailing ships).

Read more on Automotive Fuels...

The Henney Kilowatt, the first modern (transistor-controlled) Electric Car
The Henney Kilowatt, the first modern (transistor-controlled) Electric Car.

Since the Industrial Revolution, mechanical propulsion has been possible, initially using steam engines. More recently, most vehicles use some form of internal-combustion engine, with electric motors supplementing them.

Most automobiles in use today are propelled by Gasoline (also known as Petrol) or Diesel internal combustion engines, which are known to cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming.

Increasing costs of oil-based fuels and tightening environmental law and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for automobiles. Efforts to improve or replace these technologies include Liquefied Petroleum Gas or natural gas vehicles, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles.

Before internal-combustion engines were invented in the mid 19th century, Gasoline was sold in small bottles as a treatment against lice and their eggs.

Auto rickshaws in New Delhi run on Compressed Natural Gas
Auto rickshaws in New Delhi run on Compressed Natural Gas.

At that time, the word Petrol was a trade name. This treatment method is no longer common, because of the inherent fire hazard and the risk of dermatitis.

In the U.S., Gasoline was also sold as a cleaning fluid to remove grease stains from clothing. Before dedicated filling stations were established, early motorists would buy Gasoline in cans to fill their tanks.

The name Gasoline is similar to that of other petroleum products of the day, most notably petroleum jelly, a highly purified heavy distillate, which was branded Vaseline. The trademark Gasoline, however, was never registered, and thus became generic. Gasoline was also used in kitchen ranges and for lighting, and is still available in a highly purified form, known as camping fuel or white gas, for use in lanterns and portable stoves.


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During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), pétrole was stockpiled in Paris for use against a possible German-Prussian attack on the city. Later in 1871, during the revolutionary Paris Commune, rumours spread around the city of pétroleuses, women using bottles of Petrol to commit arson against city buildings.

The word "gasolene" was coined in 1865 from the word gas and the chemical suffix -ine/-ene. The modern spelling was first used in 1871. The shortened form "gas" was first recorded in American English in 1905. Gasoline originally referred to any liquid used as the fuel for a gasoline-powered engine, other than Diesel fuel or liquefied gas; methanol racing fuel would have been classed as a type of Gasoline.

The word "Petrol" was first used in reference to the refined substance as early as 1892 (it was previously used to refer to unrefined petroleum), and was registered as a trade name by British wholesaler Carless, Capel & Leonard at the suggestion of Frederick Richard Simms. Although it was never officially registered as a trademark, Carless's competitors used the term "Motor Spirit" until the 1930s. It has also been suggested that the word was coined by Edward Butler in 1887.

In Germany and some other European countries, Gasoline is called Benzin. The usage does not derive from Bertha Benz, who used chemist shops to purchase the Gasoline for her famous drive from Mannheim to Pforzheim in 1888, but from the chemical benzene.


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Some tips on how to avoid business failure:

  • Don't underestimate the capital you need to start up the business.

  • Understand and keep control of your finances - income earned is not the same as cash in hand.

  • More volume does not automatically mean more profit - you need to get your pricing right.

  • Make sure you have good software for your business, software that provides you with a good reporting picture of all aspects of your business operations.


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