A car is a vehicle with an engine. It usually has four wheels. Other names are automobile or motor car. Cars that move people from place to place are called passenger cars , abbreviated to passenger cars. When a car is mainly used to move large things, it is called a lorry or truck.

The word automobile comes from Greek and Latin. "Autos" means "itself", the Latin word "mobilis" means "movable". So it is something that appears to "move by itself". It is not pulled by horses, for example. In the 19th century, it first meant a tram.

Like many inventions, the car had many inventors. At first, people tried to drive a car with steam engines and electric motors. The actual car as we know it has an internal combustion engine. In it, petrol or diesel is made to explode, which powers the car.

However, it was a long time before really many people had a car. At first it was more a sport for rich people. Gradually, people who had to use it to move heavy things for their jobs could afford a car. In the industrialised countries, you still saw mainly cars with horses in the years after 1950.

Today, there are about 40 million passenger cars in Germany alone. In addition, there are about ten million lorries. Almost every family has at least one car. This can also be a problem: In many large cities around the world, there are so many cars that there is not enough room for them. In addition, cars emit harmful gases, which is bad for the environment.

Meanwhile, cars are also used in competitions: such races are part of motor sports. For that, you need vehicles that have been built precisely for that purpose, that are particularly fast, very resilient or particularly manoeuvrable.

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