Referred by Batman simply as "the Car", when Batman first took to the rooftops of Gotham City, he didn't think much about getting around on a large scale. When it soon became obvious that he needed a vehicle he selected a non-descript red sedan in an effort to remain descreet.
When descretion proved difficult, and wishing to enhance his crime fighting abilities through the vehicles he used, Batman designed a customized car, painted in black, with a bat-wing fin atop the roof that created a distinctive silhouette of a giant bat on the vehicle; henceforth the vehicle and all of its decendants would become known, and referred to by the public, as the "Batmobile" due to this silhouette and its association with the Batman.
In time the Batmobiles gained additional features and gadgetry, and one highly-customized model quickly followed another as Batman continued his fight on crime until the various models began to form a varietable assemblage of some of the most technologically-advanced high-performance road vehicles ever built.
Construction of the Batmobiles are handled mostly by Batman himself, overseeing the designs and constructions in tandem with Alfred Pennyworth or the Robins. Although some models have been designed and constructed by other people; such as Herald Allnut and Hiro Okamura.
Much of the technology that keep the Batmobiles at the edge of automotive technology was originally developed in Wayne Enterprises and its various industrial and technological divisions. In modern times, standard Batmobile equipment includes bulletproof wind-shields, ejector seats, automatic/voice-controlled pilot systems, radio links to the Batcave and Oracle, a customized GPS system, anti-theft devices, and infrared vision to allow stealth driving. The defensive mechanisms include spinning tire slashers, smokescreens, Teflon-based lubricant slicks, caltrops, flares and piercing sonics. In most cases the vehicles are shielded against bullets and small missile weapons without sacrifcing speed or maneuverability. The chassis usually were composed of light experimental titanium alloys, coated with bulletproof ceramic. Some models also include a bat-silhouette battering ram over the grille.
The various Batmobile models remain in storage within the Batcave and are maintained and upgraded on a regular basis despite no longer being on active service.
The first "Batmobile", the red sedan, appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939).
It was Richard Grayson, during his tenor as Robin, who coined the term "Batmobile" in reference to the car. It is thought that the inclusion of the "Bat-fins" was the result of an off-hand comment from Alfred "to make the car a true "Bat-mobile"".
The maximum speed for a Batmobile has so far been clocked at 245mph thanks to a fifteen-hundred-horsepower jet turbine engine. With afterburners, one car achieved 350mph for brief durations. Later models used 97 percent octane jet fuel, enabling them to accelerate from 0 to 90 in a 5.2 seconds.
The Batmobiles are outfitted with Kevlar-reinforced tires filled with petroleum jelly, the sort of tire used in Presidential arcades and armoured cars. In addition to being puncture-proof and flame-resistant, the tires are pressure regulated by dashboard controls. Tire over-inflation extrudes imbedded studs in all-weather treads for extra grip on icy roads.
Some Batmobiles possess engine specifications still ten years ahead of the latest Formula One racers, in additon to possessing various extras more commonly associated with Stealth jets.
Auto-engaged twin auxiliary fuel-tanks increase the Batmobile's already considerable range, while seven-day rations and water stores in the trunk allow for journeys outside of Gotham City if necessity demands an extended road-trip. Various other equipment can also be stored in the vehicles' trunks, such as various crime-scene tools, additional weaponry and compact vehicles such as Batgyros.
The Batmobile is capable of initiating a five-tier defense system to protect both the driver and itself.
Phase 1: Proximity alarms enact lock-down and surface electrification.
Phase 2: Regurgitant gas is deployed while a recorded SOS is relayed to the Batcave.
Phase 3: Hypersonic trilling spheres are released to orbit and protect the vehicle.
Phase 4: Motion-tracking glue nozzles fire super-adhesive foam on targets.