What's the difference between bhp, hp and PS?

It's time to clear things up

2y ago

When talking about engine power figures, the car world uses so many different units that it can quickly become a bit of a mess. There's horsepower, brake horsepower, PS, kilowatts... what one should we all use?! Let DriveTribe's engineering nerd Mike Fernie take you through what each of these power units are and how they all compare.

What would you like us to explain next? Drop down into the comments with what you’d like to know!

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Comments (21)

  • BHP is Broken Hill Proprietary - a mining company. The Big Australian. Now known as BHP Billiton. HP Sauce , otherwise known as Brown Sauce, was named after the venerable Houses of Parliament. PS means Post Script, which is typically a brief note written at the end of a letter.

      2 years ago
    • I scrolled down and didn’t see the video and I thought this was actually the explanation.

        2 years ago
    • PS There is some evidence to suggest that Broken Hill Proprietary supports horsepower competition.

        2 years ago
  • Can you explain that awful moustache?

      1 year ago
  • Lama thrust seems to be the most logical unit to use

      2 years ago
  • Break Horse Power still sounds the coolest, which doesn't make much sense seeing it's from Britain...

      2 years ago
  • Clarifying, Mike. It's the tortoise and the hare. I learned to calculate BHP when I was doing Mech Engineering at a technical college, in Australia. Things like fuel consumption , or battery drain for a hybrid or electric car , can be quantified, with equations, and can be then used to provide estimates for real world applications. I had a Eureka moment, one evening. Actually, it was more of a slow dawning. I was at my desk with some physics textbooks, and pencil and paper. I was trying to calculate petrol consumption, and the drain on the battery pack, for a petrol powered car, and an electric car. What I discovered, in my Eureka moment, was that the fuel consumption, for either electric or an internal combustion engine, was enormously reduced , by slowing the 0-60mph time from 17 seconds, down to 70 seconds. ( if I can find my notes I will post the figures ) In terms of a practical application, mountains of money could be saved, if highway , motor way, or interstate toll way entrance ramps were designed to be longer, and smoother . If vehicles accelerate slowly, gently and gracefully, up or down a long smooth on ramp, there is , in addition, a resultant reduction in wear and tear on the drivetrain and suspension components. And certainly your bank balance will be better for it. Captain Slow may be on to something.

      2 years ago