What is HP (Horsepower)?
Horsepower refers to the power an engine produces. It’s calculated through the power needed to move 550 pounds one foot in one second or by the power need to move 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute. The power is gauged by the rate it takes to do the work.
Quite simply, Horsepower is a measurement of the rate at which work is done, and differs from torque, which is a measurement of the amount of force applied to do that work. In your car’s engine, you can think of higher horsepower being the specification that will sustain a higher rate of work once moving, while torque is the figure that gets a car moving quickly.
Why HP is important?
Horsepower is an important specification for buyers to consider, as it speaks directly to performance. For a given vehicle, an engine with more horsepower and more torque will accelerate more quickly.
A car is considered to be “high performance” if it has a lot of power relative to the weight of the car.
Measuring Horsepower (HP)
If you want to know the horsepower of an engine, you hook the engine up to a dynamometer. A dynamometer places a load on the engine and measures the amount of power that the engine can produce against the load.
Similarly, if you attach a shaft to an engine, the engine can apply torque to the shaft. A dynamometer measures this torque. You can easily convert torque to horsepower by multiplying torque by rpm/5252.
Horsepower=Torque x Speed / 5252
For horsepower in past and present vehicles, there’s no question it plays a massive role in overall performance. While this is true, it’s crucial to remember this isn’t the only factor that impacts the performance of a vehicle. And today, there is a wide variety of techniques manufacturers use to extract more power out of engines in all types of body sizes. Small vehicles don’t necessarily mean low levels of horsepower, these days. And the introduction of more electric motors in vehicles could also change the way horsepower is considered.
Keep all this information in mind to ensure the right new car with the best power is purchased.