The Benz Patent Motorwagen (also known as Velociped) was the first car in history to have an internal-combustion engine. Produced by the German car manufacturer Benz & Cie. Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik, the first vehicle was presented in 1886.
This revolution in the transport world is due to the wish of the German engineer Karl Benz, who had in mind long ago to realize a car for transport of people that moved independently, without using horses. From this point of view, Karl Benz was able to combine his wishes with the recent innovation of the four-stroke engine, realized for the first time by Nikolaus August Otto just seven years before the birth of the car manufacturer.
During its first public presentation, the Patent Motorwagen travelled for a few dozen meters. Furthermore, the car wasn’t equipped with a fuel tank, that’s why Benz firstborn, Eugen, was forced to follow the car holding a can of fuel.
The following years were years of adjustments and changes of the Velociped, until in 1888 the car reached the public at large and a great success. This is notably due to Karl’s wife and business partner, Bertha, who, in August of that year, proved the efficiency of the Mannheim manufacturer’s vehicle travelling for more than 100 kilometers aboard the Patent n.3, reaching her hometown of Pforzheim and coming back.
Thanks to this “achievement”, the woman was included in 2016 in the Automotive Hall of Fame.