When Was the First Automobile Invented?

In 1886 Karl Benz patented the first three-wheeled, gasoline-powered automobile. At the same time he also patented other fundamentals of the automobile, such as spark plugs, a water radiator, a carburetor and his own throttle system.

While Benz did patent the first gasoline-driven car, he was not the first to pursue the dream of self-propelled vehicles. In the early 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci sketched a mechanized, horseless cart, and in 1769 Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot built a self-propelled vehicle with a steam engine.

Robert Anderson invented the first electric vehicle sometime between 1832 and 1839. It featured a rechargeable battery that drove a small electric motor, but because the vehicles were costly and required frequent recharging, gasoline-powered engines won out.