German inventive genius that changed the world
Enlarge image Carl Benz´s first patent automobile (© TMBW/ Dick ) Single cylinder, about 0.9 hp and a top speed of 12 km per hour: the German engineer Carl Benz revolutionized mobility 125 years ago with his patent automobile (photograph). His invention of 1886 is regarded as the world’s first car, and is very reminiscent of a coach without the horse. At that time, this strange looking three-wheeler with a petrol engine certainly raised a few doubtful eyebrows. Nevertheless, Benz’ intrepid wife Bertha embarked on the first overland journey covering some 100 kilometres between Mannheim and Pforzheim.
Decades elapsed before the car developed into a successful model. But the start was in 1886, when the lateral thinker Carl Benz became the driving force behind a development that up to now has produced more than 2.4 billion vehicles worldwide with famous German brand names, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche or VW. In 2011 Germany is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the automobile. The main focus is the “Automobile Summer” with its numerous events. For 125 days, the Land of Baden-Württemberg is celebrating the automobile pioneers Carl Benz and Gottfried Daimler under this heading. One of the highlights is the unusual concert “autosymphonic” on September 10 in Mannheim, featuring not only an orchestra and choir but 80 cars as well.
There will also be celebrations in September at the world’s largest motor show, the 64th International Motor Show (IAA) from September 15 to 25 in Frankfurt am Main. This is where the German car industry will present its models having experienced a marked revival following the economic crisis. This year the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) is expecting new records again: car exports are expected to reach 4.4 million units (plus 5 per cent), and the anticipated rise in domestic production will also rise by 5 per cent to 5.8 million vehicles. At the IAA producers will also be presenting cars with ideas for an environmentally friendly future: alternative drive systems are a key feature. Germany will again be among the pioneers of automobile technology with the ambitious goal of having a million electro vehicles on its roads by 2020.