Jan 232013

Automobile - Introduction and ClassificationAn automobile (or automotive) is a vehicle that is capable of propelling itself. Since seventeenth century, several attempts have been made to design and construct a practically operative automobile.

Today, automobiles play an unimaginable role in the social, economic and industrial growth of any country.

After the introduction of internal combustion engines, the Automobile industry has seen a tremendous growth.

This article contains the following sections:

  1. Introduction to Automobiles
  2. Classification of Automobiles
    1. Based on purpose
    2. Based on capacity
    3. Based on fuel source
    4. Based on type of transmission
    5. Based on number of wheels
    6. Based on side of drive

Classification of automobiles:

Automobiles can be classified into several types based on several criteria. A brief classification of automobiles is listed below:

1. Based on purpose:

  1. Passenger vehicles – These automobiles carry passengers – e.g: Buses, Passenger trains, cars
  2. Goods vehicles – These vehicles are used for transportation of goods from one place to another. e.g: Goods lorry, goods carrier

2. Based on capacity:

  1. Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMV) – Large and bulky motor vehicles – e.g: Large trucks, buses
  2. Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) – Small motor vehicles – e.g: Cars, Jeeps
  3. Medium Vehicle – Relatively medium sized vehicles – e.g: Small trucks, mini buses

3. Based on fuel source:

  1. Petrol engine vehicles – Automobiles powered by petrol engine – e.g: scooters, cars, mopeds, motorcycles
  2. Diesel engine vehicles – Automotives powered by diesel engine – e.g: Trucks, Buses
  3. Gas vehicles – Vehicles that use gas turbine as power source – e.g: Turbine powered cars
  4. Solar vehicles – Vehicles significantly powered by solar power – e.g: Solar powered cars
  5. Hydrogen vehicles – Vehicles that have hydrogen as a power source – e.g: Honda FCX Clarity
  6. Electric vehicles – Automobiles that use electricity as a power source – e.g: Electric cars, electric buses
  7. Steam Engine Vehicles – Automotives powered by steam engine – e.g: Steamboat, steam locomotive, steam wagon
  8. Hybrid Vehicles – Vehicles that use two or more distinct power sources – e.g: Hybrid buses, hybrid cars like Toyota Prius, Honda Insight
  9. Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) – Automobile that uses both Internal Combustion Engine and Electric Power Source to propel itself – e.g: Jaguar C-X75

4. Based on type of transmission:

  1. Automatic transmission vehicles – Automobiles that are capable of changing gear ratios automatically as they move – e.g: Automatic Transmission Cars
  2. Conventional transmission vehicles – Automotives whose gear ratios have to be changed manually
  3. Semi-automatic transmission vehicles – Vehicles that facilitate manual gear changing with clutch pedal

5. Based on number of wheels:

  1. Two wheeler – Automobiles having two wheels – e.g: Scooters, motorcycles
  2. Three wheeler – Automotive having three wheels – e.g: Tricycles, Auto rikshaws, Tempos
  3. Four wheeler – Vehicle having four wheels – e.g: Car, Jeep
  4. Six wheeler – Automobile having six wheels used for heavy transportation – e.g: Large trucks, large buses

6. Based on the side of drive:

  1. Left hand drive automobile – Vehicle in which steering wheel is fitted on the left hand side – e.g: Automobiles found in USA, Russia
  2. Right hand drive automobile - Vehicle in which steering wheel is fitted on the right hand side – e.g: Automobiles found in India, Australia

If you know any other mode of classification of automobile, feel free to comment on this article :)

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Written by

I am a mechanical engineer with a passion for technical stuff. I am the founder and former editor-in-chief of Mechteacher.com.

  • haraprasaddas

    def automobiles

  • haraprasaddas


  • babilu

    based on price.! low class vehicles , middle class vehicles and top class vehicles

  • mech4study

    is there is any solar vehicle

  • param

    on the basis of power train
    front wheel drive and rear wheel drive

  • sonu

    Pls add wheel drive