1. More than half a century ago, Swedish automaker Volvo patented the seatbelt. And although other competitors copied Volvo’s invention, no one has ever been charged for using the patent.
2. Mercedes-Benz introduced the first anti-lock braking systems (ABS) in 1979. Yes, the popular carmaker first used the ABS on their bestselling cars that year. Since 2011, ABS has already been a standard following the Australian legislation that made stability control a mandatory feature in all passenger cars.
3. Electric cars outnumbered petrol-powered ones in the early 1900s. What happened next — the sudden shift toward gas-powered vehicles — was a result of the discovery of the combustion engine, the emergence of oil as a fuel source and the lack of technology that limited the performance of batteries at that time. The electric car-to-gas-powered car ratio hasn’t significantly changed since then.
4. Even when petrol-powered vehicles still reign supreme across the world, 2010 saw the rising number of petrol-electric hybrid cars. In that year, there were 2.2 million of these new breeds of cars on the road. Then in 2012, the first volume-selling electric-only automobiles eventually found themselves in showrooms, showcasing far better battery efficiency and state-of-the-art performance, to which 1900 electric cars paled in comparison.
5. Despite the promising outlook for electric-powered cars, it seems those running on gas won’t go away anytime soon. In fact, experts agree that by 2020, electric cars will have comprised only about 5 percent of all cars sold in Australia.
6. As what we’ve mentioned in #5, petrol-powered cars are here to stay, hence the type of engines that run inside them too. Not that crude oil is infinitely available, but depletion of such natural resource has led many researchers to tap the power of ethanol, a renewable biofuel derived from plants. Today, a specialized blend of ethanol and unleaded petrol, as well as bio-diesel, is becoming popular.
7. It took a wave of global financial crisis — one that started in 2008 — to put an end to General Motor’s position as the biggest carmaker in the world. The American giant had enjoyed its status quo for 77 years, from 1931 to 2007, only to be overrun by Japanese maker Toyota.
8. No. None of the Western makes and models own the top spot as the world’s biggest selling car today. It’s all hands down to the Toyota Corolla — all 35 million sold across the globe and counting. But before the Japanese car enjoyed its all-time popularity, the first big seller was the Ford Model T back in the early 1900s, when about 16.5 million cars had been sold. Soon, the Volkswagen Beetle took the spot with 21.5 million sales, excluding the modern version. Then came the VW Golf with 24 million sales, just a little behind Ford F-Series pick-up trucks with 25 million sales.
9. Who would have thought that self-driving vehicles would soon become a common sight on the road? And their growing popularity comes even sooner than you think. With Google leading the way with their fully autonomous vehicle prototypes, cars running with autopilot capability will have a positive outlook in the next three to five years.
10. Even though North America boasts the biggest selling pickup trucks in the past 5 decades, it was Australia who invented these vehicles. The Australian version, locally known as the ute, has just celebrated its 80th birthday in 2014. Ford historians recall that back in 1933, Ford received a letter from a certain farmer’s wife in Gippsland, and in it was her request to build a vehicle that could take the couple to church on Sunday, and on Monday, can also carry the pigs to market. Then the rest is history, when the first approved version of the pickup truck went into production in 1934.