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What is the Batmobile?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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The Batmobile is the personal vehicle of Batman, a comic book and film superhero who wanders the streets of the fictional city of Gotham meting out justice. Somewhat uniquely for a superhero, Batman is an ordinary man who uses technology and advanced training, rather than superhuman skills, to accomplish a variety of tasks. The Batmobile is a critical tool in his arsenal, allowing him to travel safely and rapidly through the streets, and it has become an iconic element of the Batman legend.

Batman himself was introduced in comic form in 1939, and the Batmobile was brought into the comics in the same year. When Batman made the jump to television, the iconic 1966 Batmobile, which is actually a modified Lincoln Futura, became an important element in the series. Over the years, the Batmobile has gone through a number of permutations on screen and in the comic books, although it retains several key characteristics.

In fitting with Batman's rather dark persona, the Batmobile is classically black, although some versions have been red, and it often has elaborate fins which are designed to make it look more like a bat. The vehicle is armored, with powerful engines which allow it to accelerate rapidly and carry a heavy load. Many versions of the Batmobile have been fitted with jet engines, and the cockpit of the vehicle includes a number of features including computer linkups, forensic equipment, and weapons control systems.

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Batman works hard to retain his secret identity, concealing the Batmobile and other equipment in secretive locations which are very difficult to access. His butler, Alfred, assists him with the maintenance of his secret identity, ensuring that to most of the world, he is known as Bruce Wayne, a powerful Gotham businessman. Classically, the Batmobile is kept in the Bat Cave, along with other tools of the superhero trade.

Some people are interested to learn that the Batmobiles which have appeared in live action installments of the series have been real vehicles, with varying degrees of functionality. As the sophistication of the Batmobile and its equipment has increased, the crew has been forced to custom-fabricate vehicles at very high expense, and modern versions of the Batmobile have traveled on the road as promotional tools for the films. Needless to say, the fuel economy of the Batmobile is extremely low, and the interior of the working vehicles is actually more like that of a race car, with fire suppression systems and other extensive safety equipment to protect the drivers.

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