How the process of starting a car has evolved: from crank handles to simply getting on board
- Car starting has evolved significantly over the years.
- Instead of just starting the car, there was a starting sequence you had to follow in early vehicles.
- From crank handles to car seats that can sense the driver and start the car automatically, technology has led the way in the evolution of car operation.
Although you might not think much about getting into your car and immediately heading off to your next trip, the humble car start-up procedure was anything but simple in the early years. From the first crankshaft of the day to the ergonomic seat sensors in cars like Volvo, car engine operation has undoubtedly evolved over the years…
In fact, some of the first versions of internal combustion engine vehicles were extremely complex — and perhaps downright dangerous — to operate.
The ignition sequence in these vehicles involves not only manually advancing or retarding the spark plug timing, but also manually starting the engine. This physically demanding procedure involved the operator forcefully twisting the hand-held crank – which was directly connected to the engine’s crankshaft – effectively igniting the delicate internal combustion process. But if the timing is set incorrectly, the motor could backfire, causing the handle to bounce back and possibly break bones – or worse.
Get ready to roll the T to life.
This risk is said to be what led to the auto industry’s eventual widespread adoption of the electric starter motor. In 1912, Cadillac launched the Model 30, a car famous for introducing this game-changing element. Instead of trying to start the engine manually, the driver simply had to press a button. job done.
This rudimentary start button, mounted either on the vehicle’s floor or dashboard, became the standard in the automotive world until the key was added to the equation (sometime in the 1950s), likely due to increased security considerations. The ignition barrel—which required a key to be inserted and twisted—became the industry standard.
By the late 1990s, proximity key technology began to enter the world of production vehicles, offering users the kind of convenience, keyless entry and push-button start that is common among today’s modern vehicles. The driver simply walks up to the vehicle, enters through the automatically opening door, places his foot on the brake and presses the start button.
Volvo’s car seat sensors automatically start the XC40 Recharge Single.
So what’s next? Well, the future is already here. For example, the all-electric Volvo
Driving the Volvo XC40 Electric on an extended test meant it took some getting used to at first. Just as the process of starting a car has evolved, so have car keys. After that, individual keys saw immobilizer buttons or remote control buttons with keys, and then the key fob came into existence. Some switches, such as those made for BMW, can operate certain functions in the car remotely, such as reversing out of a tight parking spot, while Ford’s new Mustang can be accelerated remotely.
Stop/start buttons mean you need to know where to put the button and go.
But getting into a car that is ready to drive is another thing. It probably took me a month to get used to the fact that there’s no engine start button on the XC40 Recharge, you only have to put the shift lever in drive or reverse. Every time I got into a Volvo, I looked for the button to start the car without fail. And I’ll be exhausted for a minute until I remember there wasn’t one. Safety was also a concern, as I thought this might make car theft really easy, but then again – who would willingly want to steal an electric car?
Now that I’m completely used to it, it’s as simple as getting into the car, buckling up and driving.
The evolution of cars and their technology over the ages is fascinating and very convenient for the daily driver.
(tags for translation) Volvo