- Shopping Tools
- Service and Parts
“Horsepower is a measurement used to calculate how fast force is produced from an engine of a vehicle and focuses on how quickly it can accomplish the work. ”
Horsepower is a measurement used to calculate how quickly the force is produced from a vehicle’s engine. It is a key component used to establish the vehicle’s total number of miles during its lifetime. It is also used to inform the driver of the vehicle’s maximum running capacity. Simply put, the horsepower would be how fast a vehicle can accomplish the work.
The term “horsepower” was a unit of measurement created by James Watt in the mid-17th century to assess how quickly ponies could haul coal out of a coal mine. This experiment was done as a campaign to compare the power created by horses that were used to pull heavy items back in the day versus his new invention, the steam engine. Based on his theory, James Watt found if a single horse applied 1 horsepower, it was able to raise 330 pounds of coal 100 feet per minute which was equivalent to 330 pounds of coal 100 feet per minute, or 1,000 pounds of coal 33 feet per minute. In short, Watt concluded a horse can do 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute which was how a single unit of horsepower was contrived.
Although horsepower was founded in the mid-17th century and came to be 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute, in modern-day, we now translate that to a horse having the ability to lift 550 pounds 1 foot high per second. The latter being the standard James Watt decided on since horses differ in power.
Horsepower is one of the key measurements related to engine power. However, it is not to be without its counterpart, torque. Both are frequently used when describing the engine and ability of a car but are used to measure engine power in different ways.
Torque calculates the amount of force applied to get the work done with its focal point on power versus horsepower that weighs how fast you accomplish work with its focus on speed or the rate you complete the work.
The statistics from the vehicle specification sheet is important since it paints a picture for the buyer as to how the vehicle will perform and how much power or speed the vehicle can attain. An engine with a lower horsepower will offer higher fuel efficiency. Whereas if you are a driver who uses the freeway daily, you might look for a car with more horsepower and torque to help generate the power necessary to climb at a faster speed.
Now that we’ve discussed the difference between torque and horsepower, let’s take a look at what the numbers mean under the vehicle specifications tab. In this example, we will look into the 2021 Kia Soul which lists 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm (revolutions per minute). This means when the speed of the engine increases to 6,200 rpm, the horsepower will reach its maximum at 147 and will slightly taper off as the engine speed continues to grow.