A Quick Introduction to Horsepower
Horsepower and torque. The two most commonly discussed attributes when talking about vehicles. But how much do you know about them, specifically horsepower, other than the bigger the better? We’re going to do a bit of digging into the history of horsepower and how it works, before looking at some of the power ratings of the vehicles offered by the high-powered Go Auto Ford dealership, Team Ford.
Watt is Horsepower?
Horsepower, as a unit of measurement, has very little to do with horses now-a-days. But when it was coined by the engineer James Watt, it was all about how much coal a pony could lift at a coal mine. Watt, maybe even more famous still for his contributions to steam engines and light bulbs, found that one horse could do 33,000 foot-pounds of work lifting coal every minute. Well, one horse could do 22,000 foot-pounds of work in a minute but Watt decided to increase the number by 50%, in hopes of becoming the Secretariat of arbitrary numbers. Now, this would be a pretty big ask for a horse, or anyone for that matter. But, when factoring in pulley systems (believe it or not Block and Tackle means something outside of football), this number becomes something a bit more attainable. Now hold on tight, things are going to speed up a little.
To determine how much horsepower a vehicle has, you need to hook it up to a dynamometer. That means lab coats, clipboards, and a whole lot of numbers. It also means adding a load, or weight, to the engine and flooring it. Now, if running an engine at 7,000 rpm for an extended time and listening to the sweet music it makes sounds like a good time to you, maybe we should grab a beer sometime. But we aren’t done yet. A dynamometer measures torque (a conversation for another day) which can then be multiplied by rpm/5,252. Don’t put the clipboard down yet, we’ve got some graphing to do. You’ll need to plot the horsepower against the rpm values of the engine, to get a horsepower curve. This is where we find out both the peak horsepower and peak torque that you hear about so often, set to a specific rpm. This rpm is important because it can differentiate between vehicles with low-end or high-end torque, a.k.a. peak torque occuring at low rpm values or higher rpm values. To put it into perspective, something with low end torque gets you off the line quicker and works well for off-roading, stressing the engine less to get you through the sand or mud or snow or whatever it is you’re battling. This has applications for winter driving as well — rural areas like Rimbey and Joffre may benefit from lower-end torque vehicles, whereas higher-end torque vehicles may be easier to drive in more densely populated cityscapes with harder packed roads.
So what does all of this mean to you? Do you drive your vehicle once a week to church, or have you seen all twelve Fast & Furious movies several times each? Do you enjoy tackling the off-road, or do you regularly tow a trailer? Because as great as the 450 hp at 2800 rpm of the Ford F-450 sounds (and is), it has a substantially different performance than the 460 hp at 7,000 rpm of the Mustang GT Fastback. Below you’ll find a few versions of some of our favourite vehicles, with information on their maximum horsepower. Now, keep in mind that the actual horsepower of the vehicle will depend on multiple factors, like trim level, and maintenance. So if you yourself have access to a dynamometer for some reason (seriously, we should grab a beer sometime) and these numbers don’t seem completely accurate to your testing, there is a number of factors that could play into this.
Ford Fusion: 325 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Ford Focus: 350 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Ford Flex: 365 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Ford Explorer: 365 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Ford F-150: 450 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Ford SuperDuty: 450 hp @ 2,800 rpm
Ford Mustang: 526 hp @ 7,500 rpm
Ford GT: 600+ !!!
Of course, and as always, if you have any questions about any Ford vehicles or want to know which Ford is right for you, come visit us at Team Ford. Our sales staff all work on a flat rate commission, which means we get you the right vehicle, not just the one that costs the most. But, if it has the most horsepower well, all the power to you.