How many wheels are there in the world? You may ask that when looking at all the wheels on cars, trucks, buses, and bikes. These essential parts of a vehicle or bike are all around us. Can we estimate how many there are in the world?
There were about 1.3 billion wheels in vehicles in 2016, and over a billion vehicles have been produced since then. The wheels we’ve quoted do not include those on bicycles and motorbikes. We must also remember the wheels in manufacturers’ warehouses. That makes it hard to estimate the number of wheels worldwide, but we can safely say there are billions of them.
What Are Wheels?
You probably think wheels are tires, but that’s not the case. They are actually the rims over which the round rubber objects we call tires are installed.
Therefore, while tires touch the road as a vehicle moves, wheels never touch the ground. However, they are attached to a car’s steering system and contribute significantly to smooth driving.
Wheels come in two categories. There are those made of steel and those made of alloy metals.
Most of the wheels you see around are alloy wheels made from a combination of steel and other metals. Vehicle manufacturers choose alloy wheels over steel wheels because they are aesthetically pleasing and durable.
The History of Wheels
Wheels have been around for ages. The first one was invented in Lower Mesopotamia during the 4th Millennium. It was made by attaching rotating axles to round wooden discs without holes and was used for pottery.
Once inventors discovered that creating a hole at the center of the wheel made it lighter, its shape changed. That signified a considerable advancement in the creation of transportation vehicles such as chariots, carts, and wheelbarrows. It also improved people’s economies by broadening how they could perform activities like agriculture.
Today wheels are everywhere in the world. Their designs have also improved, allowing us to drive at incredible speeds. Due to the improvement in wheel technology, vehicles can now go anywhere and in any weather.
How Many Wheels Are in The World?
The only way to know how many wheels there are worldwide is by making a rough estimate. That means looking at recent statistics concerning all vehicles with wheels, including bicycles and motorbikes.
According to vehicle statistics released in 2020, there were about 77 million motor vehicles worldwide. Since each vehicle has five wheels, including a spare, which comes to about 389 million wheels.
Bikes were about 132 million in number the same year, which translates to 246 million wheels. Therefore, in 2020, about half a billion wheels were in the world.
Fast forward, and more cars and bikes are on our roads than ever. Therefore, even without calculating, we can safely say the wheels in the world have far exceeded the 1 billion mark.
If you’ve been thinking of wheels and asking, “How many wheels are in the world?” the answer is billions! More wheels are manufactured daily, so keeping track of them is hard.
The best you can do is enjoy looking at the different types of wheels around you and their modern designs. You will find many exciting things to focus on, such as customized rims, and appreciate how far the wheel has come.