What Does Horsepower Really Mean?

Everyone has heard the term horsepower before, usually in reference to a car's performance, but what does it really mean? The term Horsepower is quite old, stretching all the way back to the late 18th century, and its inventor, James Watt. Like with most machinery, a rating system is excellent for comparing the performance of one system to another and leaving a strong impression on the customer.

Watt did the math and worked out that a typical workhorse could manage around 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute. The foot-pound is a measure of work, a single foot-pound being the energy transferred when applying one pound of pressure linearly over one foot. 1 Horsepower then is 33,000 foot-pounds per minute.

So now, when you see a car's horsepower rating, you'll have a better idea of what to expect. If you're interested in learning more, you can contact our staff at Kia of Downtown Los Angeles!

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