To begin an analysis of the technological evolution of cars, one should look at carts. Carts have been used for centuries to transport people, animals, and objects. Cart repair differed from car repair in that it was entirely mechanical. The simple machine of the wheel was the most technically complex part. What is important for tracing them to the history of car repair, however, is the way cars are powered. Carts have been powered by people and animals, but never by another machine. The first engine to power a cart, turning it into a car (or automobile, which literally means a thing that moves itself) was powered by steam.
Steam power dominated the early Industrial Revolution and thrived in a time in which critical and scientific thought took on the characteristic of having a thermodynamic perspective on the world. Steam-based design required an extremely large amount of capital to design, as it was a large scale source of energy (much like car production today). Capital came to have a huge influence over the organization of industrial production, itself seen as a kind of motor, and one should remember that the production of cars emerged in this context.
Electric cars, which are now becoming popular again in their hybrid form, existed soon after the emergence of steam power. However, oil, and subsequently, gasoline, proved to be a less expensive fuel source, and the internal combustion engine came to dominate the vehicle power scene until the recent emergence of hybrids (arguably due to gasoline becoming an expensive resource, as well as due to increased concern for the conservation of natural resources).
The production of cars themselves has an effect on social relations. In the United States, the Henry Ford Company was very successful in the mass production of cars. The company was accompanied by a theory of society known as Fordism, in which the employee’s of Ford were paid enough to purchase the products they produced. » Read more: Car Repair Through the History of the Automobile