things on wheels
"life is like a chariot wheel that ever rolls on."
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Humans have been moving from one location to another since our beginning. For most of our history, legs and feet were our means of transportation. As technology developed, we have continually improved on ways to get from where we are to where we want to be.
In a sense, motorized things with wheels are a kind of “time machine”. If you think “time machine” is a bit too hyperbolic, just compare how long it would take to drive from Boston to San Diego in a modern SUV versus walking the same distance.
We can thank Germany’s Gottlieb Daimler for creating this “time machine” way back in 1896. That is when they invented the motor vehicle. At four-horsepower, a belt drive, two forward speeds, and one reverse speed, it was a far cry from what is available today, but it was a beginning.
Cars, especially sedans are a popular and traditional mode of transportation. Today the race is on to perfect the autonomous vehicle. In reality, for a driver-less car to function safely it must collect a range of information from the outside world. To make decisions that best protect our safety, the autonomous car must process data from its surroundings like traffic, pedestrians, weather, road conditions, vehicle condition, the presence of service and fueling stations, accident avoidances, etc.
Autonomous vehicles will eventually connect with other vehicles as well as the environment through numerous sensors. Additionally, passengers will have access to a variety of internet services, including Wi-Fi, cloud, media, information, and entertainment.
Trucks are larger than most cars and offer more versatility. That becomes very apparent if you are trying to transport a sheet of plywood in a sedan.
In 2020 it was reported for the first-time that pickup sales overtook sedan sales.
The rise of the SUV as a popular vehicle was remarkably rapid. Initially, SUVs were not as comfortable as sedans, but it is clear to anyone who has driven a recent model, today’s SUVs lack nothing in comfort. SUVs are a great choice for those who prefer a little more steel between themselves and the road.
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Although many automakers tout small cars as comfortable, the reality is, with more space comes a higher level of comfort. That explains the popularity of vans among families with children. The ease of driving and the high level of comfort make vans as good a choice as it gets for getting kids to the soccer game or for extended family journeys.
Anyone cramming bags, kids, Mom, and Dad into a small car, will concur, especially around the one-hundred-mile mark of a thousand-mile trip.
Vans are also an excellent choice for commercial use. If your business requires “wheels” greater than a car but less than a truck, a van could be the perfect solution.
Electric vehicles broaden the range of transportation fuel options. The United States consumes about eighteen million barrels of petroleum and petroleum products per day. Roughly two-thirds of that going to transportation.
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Geopolitics has historically imposed petroleum price spikes and supply interruptions felt most painfully at the pump. Electric vehicles may mitigate the impact of these geopolitical considerations if the US can use its domestic sourced gas and natural gas for recharging EV batteries.
This has led to increased popularity of EVs like Tesla and the Audi e-Tron.
Hybrid vehicles are powered by two or more energy sources, one of which is commonly a fossil fuel and the other being a battery. The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is the most prevalent type of hybrid. Typically using liquid fuel to power an internal combustion engine that works in tandem with batteries to power an electric motor. Hybrid electric vehicles consume less fuel and emit less pollution.
If tax-saving is a priority, then a hybrid vehicle may be an attractive option. Many Tax authorities offer up to 100% tax exemption on hybrids. Since hybrids accumulate electric power generated via a combustion engine, it is well suited for people who turn their vehicles on and off frequently.
Motorcycles, ah, the freedom of the open road, the wind blowing through your hair. Motorcycles not only provide these pleasures, but they also provide additional advantages such as affordability, improved fuel efficiency, and lower maintenance costs. In comparison to four-wheeled vehicles, a motorbike is also an environmentally responsible option because it emits less carbon and consumes less fuel.
There are numerous other advantages to motorcycles. Whether you are a student in a developing country or a pizza delivery boy; used motorcycles are quite affordable. At the other end of the spectrum would be a brand spanking new luxury bike like a Harley, a BMW, a Ducati, an Indian, or a Dodge Tomahawk (“wild night is calling”).
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ATVs are a great way to traverse the vast outdoors. ATVs are commonly used recreationally for trail riding and racing. They’re also useful for single-lane highways, off-road trails, and tight corners.
ATVs often have a straddle seating position, handlebar steering (similar to a bicycle or motorbike, not a wheel like a car or truck), and the ability to move across a variety of terrains and circumstances.
RV travel is an excellent option if you want the most flexible vacation possible. It provides total freedom and a nice break from being bound by a schedule.
RVs allow you to bring your home comforts with you wherever you go. That’s a welcome respite for those who struggle to squeeze all of their things into a carry-on bag. Change your mind on the spur of the moment, and if you like what you see, stay a while. Hey, your RV has almost all the creature comforts of home.
A golf cart transports golfers and their equipment around the golf course while playing a round of golf. Golf carts are equipped with a variety of unique safety and comfort features to satisfy the needs of golfers. The low center of gravity characteristic of golf carts helps prevent spills when driving over uneven terrain.
Miscellaneous “wheeled things” include many different two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers. They meet the needs of children, students, adults, and racing enthusiasts.
A scooter’s great mobility makes it a good choice for urban settlers. They offer the same advantages as a motorcycle but are much lighter and therefore easier to handle.
The Segway is a fully automated, battery-powered vehicle popular among guards and police officers. With speeds up to 12.5 mph, it can cover distances of 24 miles.
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A Velomobile is essentially a horizontal, three-wheeled bicycle, encased in some sort of plastic shell. The outer shell protects the rider from the harsh elements of rain, snow, and hail. Some recent models have also been designed with storage, making it semi-functional for grocery shopping.
The hoverboard is used for personal transportation. The idea originated from the popular movie Back to the Future. Hoverboards are generally equipped with wheels and require a great deal of balance ability. Balance is very important in life and critical on a Hoverboard.
Walk on water anyone? Who wouldn’t like that? The Aquaskipper makes it possible. It uses the power of your up and down movements to fly you above the water’s surface, without noise, smoke, or pollution.
The inventor of the Aquaskipper has built a fun gadget for those who want to experience the thrill of silently gliding on water, in harmony with nature, while also getting a great workout.
Many love cycling, which is the idea behind a treadmill design that is also a bicycle. The Lopifit is a treadmill bike that looks like a bicycle but has no pedals, instead, there is a treadmill. This running movement converts your energy into battery power that drives the rear wheel.
The HumanCar looks like the kind of vehicle you’d see in Bedrock. This hand-powered hybrid can reach speeds of up to 60 mph and keep you fit to boot. Seating up to four people, the HumanCar is the brainchild of Charles Greenwood, an engineer who has been developing the perfect human-powered vehicle for over 30 years.
With four people, the vehicle makes decent progress with only human power. It also has an electric battery for when there are fewer passengers or when human energy wanes.
The Amphicar Model 770 is a car with 4 wheels and 2 (ship) propellers. What? This “car” can move both on the road and in water. It is waterproof, carries a flag, and has navigation lights. It does well in water but is very expensive to make. Therefore, less than 4,000 Amphicars have been produced.
What would an article about “wheeled things” be without including the Ferrari 512S Modulo? Perhaps, the most futuristic vehicle ever created, (until the Hyperion XP1 – more below), even though it dates back to the 1970s.
The Ferrari 512S Modulo is one fast car due in part because it is less than a meter high. That’s aerodynamics to the tenth power. Remarkably, it works! This race car can reach a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour. Unfortunately, it never went into production; Ferrari left it at a single prototype.
Last, but not by a long shot least, is the Hyperion XP1. Quoting a press release: It uses advanced space flight technology to store more hydrogen in less volume than any other vehicle on the road today.
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