Understanding Horsepower and Its Importance

Many of our drivers that visit Billy Kidd’s Volvo Cars are curious what horsepower is and why it is important to consider when purchasing a car. We wanted to shed some light on the origins of horsepower so that you can make a more informed purchasing decision when you visit our lot!

Horsepower, abbreviated as hp, is a unit that is used to measure power. Adopted in the 18th century James Watt, a Scottish engineer, horsepower measures the rate at which a task is completed. The metric horsepower, which is approximated to be 735.5 watts and mechanical horsepower with 745.7 watts are the two primary horsepower standards in use today.

Electrical horsepower, boiler horsepower, hydraulic horsepower, and air horsepower are the other types that are utilized Watt’s invention of horsepower was necessitated by the need to have a unit that could be used in the comparison of steam engines output with draft horse’s power.

Over the years, the unit has been advanced to include the measurement of other output power of electric motors, turbines, and piston engines. According to Watt, one horse is capable of doing 33,000 foot-pounds of a task per minute.

After this development, Watt used the idea to compare apples to oranges and his machinery from which he would deduce that a particular engine’s power was equivalent to a given number of horses.

If you would like to see our selection of Volvo vehicles, or if you have any questions pertaining to horsepower, we invite you to visit us at Billy Kidd’s Volvo Cars in Cockeysville, MD.

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