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If you have a car or if you are a car enthusiast, then you must know about horsepower.

But what exactly is horsepower and what does it mean and how much horsepower does a horse have?

So, let us learn all that and more about horsepower. Let’s begin.

What Is Horsepower?

In simple language, horsepower is the power an engine produces. According to Britannica, horsepower is the rate at which work is done. It is actually a unit of power.

An engineer, James Watt developed the concept of horsepower.

According to Science Focus, he defined it as “the quantity to measure the power output of a steam engine.”

He wanted people to switch from horses to steam engines. So, he improved the design of steam engines which resulted in higher efficiency of steam engines and also required very less fuel.

Watt calculated that a horse can turn a 24 feet mill wheel around 2.5 times per minute.

He knew that his calculations were just estimates and therefore, he rounded off the calculations. Per his definition, one horse power equals 33,000 foot-pounds per minute or 746 watts. Watt is the unit of power in the metric system.

Modern car manufacturers use metric horsepower and Watt’s definition of horsepower.

A metric horsepower is a unit of measurement of power just like horsepower. It is defined as the power needed to raise a 7 kg mass against gravity over one meter’s distance per second. It measures around 735 watts or W.

How Much Horsepower Does a Horse Have?

Horsepower is basically the average rate of work that a healthy draft horse can do for a full day.

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The estimates of James Watt were pretty accurate as confirmed by William Youatt, an English veterinary surgeon from the 1925 Iowa State Fair.

A horse can exert up to 14.9 horsepower or 15 horsepower over a short period of time.

Why Is It Called Horsepower?

The invention of the steam engine was a revolution in transportation. As mentioned earlier, James Watt wanted people to switch from horse carts to steam engines.

However, people were not too eager to make the shift. So, to prove that the steam engine’s power is better than an average horse, he coined the term horsepower and proved that the machine is better than a horse.

How Is Horsepower Calculated?

equation of horsepower - how much horsepower does a horse have

The equation for horsepower is:

Hp = Fd/t

Here, Hp is horsepower

F is the force in pounds

d is the distance in feet

t is time in minutes

How Many Ccs Are in One Horsepower?

In general, one horsepower = 14-17 cc, it is rounded off as 15 ccs. However, this value depends on other factors like fuels, size, engine, etc.

How Fast Is One Horsepower in Mph?

It depends on the automobile. Horsepower to mph conversion depends on the type of automobile that you are using. The table under gives a brief idea about the conversion from one horsepower to mph.

Hp (Horsepower)mph (Miles per hour)Type of automobile
10.3 to 1.3Small boats and jet skis
10.6 to 1.2UTV and average cars
13-10small or lightweight motorcycles
10.8-1.6Large motorcycles
10.2F1 cars
10.2-0.3Riding movers

Does Horsepower Make a Car Faster?

It is true to an extent that the higher horsepower a car has, the higher its acceleration meaning more horsepower equals higher speed.

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However, the relation between horsepower and speed is not exactly linear. It depends on various factors like torque, size, aerodynamics, weight, etc.

Why Do Cars or Automobiles Lose Horsepower as They Age?

Just like how animals become weak and old as we age! Machines including cars bear wear and tear and get dirty over the years.

The parts may become dirty or clogged up and may not function as efficiently and smoothly as they did in earlier years.

The piston rings in the engine can wear down, thereby reducing the pressure in the cylinders, ultimately decreasing the power output.

In the same way, fuel pumps may get worn out and might not be able to pump fuel well.

Regular servicing helps your car in losing just a few percentage of horsepower over thousands of miles.

Sources: 1

Image Sources: Wikipedia

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