The first car was steam-powered and was invented by French military engineer Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769. The car was named the Fardier a vapeur and could travel at 2.25 miles per hour while carrying four passengers for 15 minutes before needing to stop and regenerate its power.
Cugnot is a French inventor who was born in Void-Vacon, Lorraine, France, on February 26, 1725. He is credited with being one of the original inventors to utilize a device for converting the reciprocating motion of a steam piston into rotary motion by way of a ratchet arrangement. Cugnot was forced to go into exile in Brussels after having his pension removed at the onset of the French Revolution.