Does one horsepower really equal the power of one horse?
For the past hundred or so years there has been a universal standard for measuring the power output of a given vehicle, horsepower. This seems like a really straightforward system, as the world was transitioning from horses to cars this must have been a great way to visualize the power of cars.
Because while the worlds first car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen had an eye-wattering 3 horsepower, this did not mean that it was the same as strapping three horses to the front of the thing. Because, the Benz had an equivalent of 44.7 horses pulling it. See, a common misconception is that one horsepower is the same as the peak power output of an actual horse, the truth is that it's closer to 14.9 horses per horsepower.
The initial definition of horsepower was created by James Watt, which was based on the continuous, sustained power output of a horse. He measured how much water a horse could raise in a minute, at a normal walking pace, which turned out to be 550 ft-lbs/s. That soon became the baseline measurement for 1 HP. Furthermore, the average person can produce up to 5 HP at their peak.
Think about it this way, a Bugatti Chiron produces roughly 1,500 Horsepower. That is the equivalent of 22,350 horses all hooked up to one car. This truly gives you an appreciation for how brilliant engines are. Because, a package which is smaller than a horse is capable of producing the power equivalent of over 22,000 horses.
Furthemore, as electric supercars continue to develop, we will be able to fit more and more power into increasingly smaller packages. For example, the rear electric motor on a Tesla alone produces over 400 HP, in a package that is no bigger than your average watermelon.