Vehicle Drive Train Systems

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Before the advent of the automobile, buggies were typically propelled by one or more horses. Even with the first automobiles there was a need for a drive system, though, since those horses were no longer there. One thing that has remained common to every car is a motor and transmission system of some sort, but what varies greatly between cars is what is between the transmission and the wheels, also known as the drive train. There are many different styles of drive trains, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Front Wheel Drive The most common style of drive train is that of the front wheel drive, abbreviated FWD. Front wheel drive was not, however, the first drive system. Front wheel drive first made its appearance in the automobile market in 1933 with the French Traction Avant, which literally means "pull from the front." At the time, the idea of having a car pulled by the front wheels was rather different, but this style of getting the power to the wheels worked rather well. What made the Traction Avant successful was that it was lighter and more fuel efficient than other car models made at the time. This increased efficiency was a result of not only eliminated weight, but also reduced power loss in moving the rotational energy to the back. The idea of front wheel driven cars was not embraced immediately by major car manufacturers, though, since having all the driving mechanisms placed right under or in front of the engine added complexity in production and maintenance that was not worth the extra gas mileage. It was when the gasoline shortage hit America in the early 1980s that the front wheel drive car first became popular. Chevrolet first implemented the system in its "Citation," in 1979, which became an... ... middle of paper ... ...front and rear differentials. Taking this into consideration, all wheel drive systems are almost always on full time. In order for all wheel drive to work, a specialized computer and a matching set of sensors is needed to tell which wheels are spinning and to which wheels the power should be transferred to. The change is done through a series of automatic wheel braking, adding another complicated and costly mechanism to the brakes system. For this reason all wheel drive systems were usually only used in vehicles like Mercedes and Porches. Lately, though, due to the advances in manufacturing technology, there have been a few domestic vehicles released, like the newer Ford Explorers and the Saab 9-2X, both of which feature all wheel drive. Should the cost of production of all wheel drive systems continue to decrease, more domestic vehicles will feature it in the future.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that before the advent of the automobile, buggies were propelled by one or more horses. there are many different styles of drive trains, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Explains that all wheel drive systems were first introduced in the united states in 1983 in a rally-style racing coupe called the quattro, by audi.
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