The bid to replace the horse with something that could go further and faster led to the advent of the first motorcar or ‘motorwagen’ as named by its originator Karl Benz in 1885. Germany, being at the forefront led by able support from France, United States and United Kingdom harnessed their best resources to change the mode humanity would hence stride forth in its journey to master time and space. Motorised vehicles were here to stay and assumed a place of pride. Entrepreneurs, engineers and aristocrats played prominent part in manufacturing, selling and promoting cars from a beyond reach luxury item to a common middle class household denominator.
The advantage of this personal mode of transport is too obvious to be overlooked. Never before had mankind visualised anything that would offer so much ease of comfort while travelling at a more enhanced speed than this humble motor car.
The unnecessary hassle of waiting for a public mode of transport which, at best, may be uncomfortable and at worst, may be, plain unreliable is no more required. Cars, make it possible for families to travel together, enjoying the journey at their own pace and leisure without being bound by chartered maps or schedule. During moments of crisis and emergencies, needless to say the motor cars have time and again proved their worth in saving hours and many a lives in process.
The battle over time, space and discomfort has been won. However, the pay-out, in this deal has been immense and the outcome, is not pleasant and is bound to be gorier in future. Excessive and irresponsible usage of motor cars have an immense negative impact on the health in particular of individuals and environment, in general. The sedentary lifestyle which is a direct resultant of excessive dependence on personal cars is largely responsible for obesity and cardio-vascular related health concerns. The emission of poisonous gases (more than half of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide and a quarter of the hydrocarbon released in the environment is a direct fallout of automobile usage) invariably lead to pulmonary distress especially among children and the elderly. Smog, haze and global warming are powerful indicators of the damage being done at a street level where human beings are directly breathing into the poisonous air making excessive usage of cars a veritable threat. The high cost of maintaining a motor car (cost of a driver, insurance costs, maintenance costs, fuel costs) is also a deterrent for many a middle class households, who would rather relegate it to a weekend luxury than use it for their daily commute.
The need of the hour is to make judicious use of this incredible invention in a more responsible manner. Car manufacturers, across the globe, are battling to produce a more sustainable mode of transportation which would travel further and faster than the current battery operated cars which are limited to a range of 480 kms. Till then, pool cars, better networking of public transport system, usage of alternative means of transport would go a long way in easing the congestion on our environment and traffic. Denmark is showing the way where cycling is a way of life with 450 kms dedicated cycling tracks in the city of Copenhagen alone. Less than 30% of Danes own or feel the need for maintain a personal motor car. The world is taking note and shall hopefully, soon be inspired to emulate.