Power and torque are two terms that are often (wrongly) used interchangeably. Car-related blogs often write about both cars and motorcycles. However, I’ve never explained the difference between the two before.
This blog will help you understand the difference between the two. Most importantly, which number is more important to consider when buying a car or motorcycle.
However, both reflect the performance of a car’s engine, so they may be used interchangeably. To simplify things first, horsepower and torque are two different things, so it’s important to understand the difference.
What is the Difference Between Torque and Horsepower?
What is Horsepower (HP)?
The total power output of an engine is measured in horsepower.
Think about it like this: Suppose he has a horse that weighs 550 pounds. If this horse moves one leg per second of his, it will generate 1 horsepower. How is horsepower calculated?
The formula for calculating power is H=T×rpm.
Let me try to explain this as simply as possible: Suppose your car’s engine produces 200 pounds of force and is moving at a speed of 2 feet per second. Its power is 2002=400.
What is car RPM?
RPM or revolutions per minute is another term related to horsepower and torque. What you should know is that RPM is a measure of a motor’s rotational speed and torque is a measure of its rotational force.
What is Torque?
The turning ability of the engine is expressed in terms of torque.
An easy-to-understand explanation of power and torque
The force that pushes you back into the seat when you press the accelerator pedal is torque, and the speed achieved at the end of that acceleration is called horsepower.
As you can see, both are about the speed of the car, which is probably why they are often mistakenly used interchangeably.
There are various units for measuring horsepower and torque. For example, Pakistan measures torque in Newton meters (Nm), while the United States measures it in pound feet (lb-ft). However, horsepower is measured worldwide in foot-pound-seconds (ft-lb/s). Which is more important, horsepower or torque?
Both. Because one cannot work without the other.
Just because the car you’re looking to buy has impressive horsepower and torque numbers doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fast car. Vehicle weight also plays a role.
Simply put, if you want an instant adrenaline rush, you want torque, but if you want to win races, you need horsepower to cross the finish line.
Torque in EVs
Even those who do not own an electric car (yet), know that EVs are “torquey”. And this is despite the fact that they carry very heavy batteries.
To put things in perspective and show how fast they are, look at Bugatti Veyron and Tesla Model S P90D. Tesla would go from 0 to 100 Km/h in 3.3 seconds, while Bugatti would do the same in 2.5 seconds. And there’s a price difference of about $1.9 million between the two with Tesla being cheaper.
So, one of the many reasons why we often hear EVs are the future, is their cheaper price and very impressive torque stats.
CC vs HP vs Torque
Now that you know the difference between hp and torque, let’s throw in another term often used when talking about engines – cc. CC which stands for Cubic Capacity is the measurement of the volume of the engine or its size. Engine size, by the way, is the volume of air and fuel that can be pushed through a vehicle’s cylinders. Engine size is measured in cc.
We hope you found this blog helpful in deciphering the difference between horsepower and torque and some other associated terms. Let us know if you found it easy to read and understand.