Ask someone to illuminate a room and they’ll effortlessly flick a light switch. However, ask a person to explain the basics of electricity and they might, at best, talk about Benjamin Franklin, a kite, and a key. For the most part, the functionality of the conveniences we enjoy, from electricity to transportation to the internet, are often taken for granted and even unappreciated. Sometimes we focus on the shortcomings of these conveniences we enjoy instead of marveling at their wonder. Even after their improbable discoveries and impressive refinements, there is still an astonishing amount of work that goes into providing these marvels. As an example, Torque News recently took a look at the lengthy and challenging process of building a vehicle.
Every vehicle in existence, from the Model T to the Tesla 3, begins with a proverbial pad and pencil. A quick glance at highway traffic will tell you that no two cars are the same. Each one of these vehicles begins with an idea. According to Car and Driver, the “Invention” stage can take up to 72 months. This stage of the process involves more than a rough sketch of the vehicle: it identifies potential customers, the features of the vehicle, as well as the price and mileage goals. Only once this critical stage is completed can the vehicle move from concept to a reality.
Most vehicles move from the invention phase to the packaging phase. The design of the interior and exterior become more refined, as do the materials. But, as stated by Torque News, nothing is set in stone. “Often, new things will be available thanks to the company’s teams of hunter-gatherers who’re continually scouring the globe for new options and ideas for everything from fabrics to industrial materials.” These new findings can prove to be invaluable to the final vehicle.
Once there is a “first draft” of the vehicle completed, it can move into the testing and refinement process. At this stage, the vehicle is nearly complete. According to Torque News “This is often referred to as the ‘concept’ phase for marketing, as it is now a physical reality. This is when engineering considerations for production begin to play heavily into the finalized, production design.”
Next is the final engineering stage. At this point, it is critical to look back to the beginning stage to make sure that outlined goals are being met. Slight modifications can be made at this stage to ensure the vehicle meets its initial goals while also optimizing its manufacturability. Next is, quite possibly, the most exciting phase of all – Production! After much hard work and dedication, vehicles can finally start rolling off of the line and be delivered to excited customers.
J.K Rowling famously started the Harry Potter series on a napkin. Undoubtedly, many vehicles that we love today had the same humble beginnings. The process of designing, engineering, and building a vehicle is anything but easy, yet our vehicles are better and safer as a result. Technological advancements have made the process quicker, but the care and precision of the process remain. The automobile remains a wonder, as does the process of creating it.