How many horsepower does a horse actually have?

How many horses would have to trudge under the hood of a little city car if you wanted to drive the engine in a natural way? Is a horsepower exactly the strength of a horse? And is every horse actually the same strength? - Image: Shutterstock / Vera Zinkova

If you ride a horse, you move away with the power of one horsepower - this is the widespread idea when you have to consider the horsepower of a motor. The reality is somewhat more complicated, however, and is actually based on a marketing trick from the time when James Watt wanted to sell the steam engine, reports Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). If a horse lifts a weight of 150 kilograms 30 meters in a minute, then according to James Watt it corresponds to the power of one horsepower. A clever move: the mine operators could easily calculate how many horses they could replace with just one steam engine.

Up to 24 HP: horses have different horsepower

Of course, not every horse can do this feat at the same time. And so horses have very different horsepower. This is how a race horse achieves a whopping 15 horsepower over short distances. A small Shetland pony can hardly keep up. Therefore, how much horsepower a horse can ultimately achieve depends on whether it can surpass the power arbitrarily determined by James Watt or not. According to the BR, a single horse can theoretically even produce up to 24 HP.

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