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What Is Torque In Car

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Torque In Electric Vehicles

Horsepower vs Torque – A Simple Explanation

So since electric cars dont have engines, do they still have torque and horsepower? Yes, they do.

Just like gas vehicles, electric cars must still accelerate and reach a top speed. However, the output is measured in kilowatts instead of rpm. But, for electric cars, the acceleration happens much faster than their rivals.

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Look at accelerating in an EV as turning on a light switch. There is instant powerno need for the electricity to warm up before hitting the light bulb. Since there is instant power, the EVs have better and stronger torque than their gas rivals.

The Tesla Model S Plaid offers drivers a mind-boggling 1,020 kW of horsepower and 1,050 kW of torque. Gas-powered vehicles cant deliver this kind of power instantly. Think of it as turning on a gas stove that ticks before the flame combusts. A cars gas engine has to get going first before reaching its peak performance. Electric vehicles dont have this problem as their peak rpm starts from zero. So if you ever wondered if electric cars can keep up with gas cars, the answer is yes, very much so.

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Differences Between Torque And Horsepower

First, heres a little background on what torque and horsepower actually are. Both are basically a byproduct of your cars engine when you turn on the ignition and hit the gas. Theyre a part of the process involved in converting the air and fuel within the engine into the energy needed to make your car move.

Now that weve gotten that down, lets look a little closer at the differences between torque vs. hp for acceleration:

Key Differences Between Horsepower Vs Torque

Horsepower provides a measurement of the engines overall performance. Torque provides a simple measurement of the maximum twisting force that engine can generate, when worked hard.

This is why pickup trucks have high-torque engines that generate more torque than a small car.

For instance, the Toyota Tundras 5.7L i-FORCE V8 engine has 381 horsepower, backed by a mighty 401 lb.-ft of torque. That high torque level provides drivers with plenty of capability for handling challenging work, such as towing, hauling, and climbing steep grades.

Conversely, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback comes with a Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine, with 168 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft of torque. In this vehicle, high torque output isnt necessary, and fuel economy is a priority, so horsepower and torque are set by the engineers to balance pleasing performance against excellent fuel efficiency.

Finally, consider the hybrid car, which uses a gasoline engine thats enhanced by an electric motor.

Electric motors are torque superstars, since they provide their full torque output instantly. Youll see this next time you use your blender: The instant you turn it on, its electric motor applies maximum torque to the rotating blades, immediately, and with no waiting.

Its this same instant and potent torque output that helps hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Corolla Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid offer both reduced fuel consumption and improved performance.

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What Is Torque In A Car

Torque is a physical quantity that indicates the traction in an engine design. The physical unit for torque is the newton-meter . For cars with an internal combustion engine, the aim is to achieve a high torque as early as possible at low engine speeds. In electric cars torque is available immediately, and thats an advantage.

What Is The Difference Between Bhp And Torque

What Is Torque?

Do not confuse Torque with BHP as they are different although both related to the power of a car. So what is Torque then and how does it compare with horsepower or BHP?

Horsepower = Torque x rpm/5252Torque = Horsepower x 5252/rpm

Any Power/Torque graph you see will cross at 5252 provided you measure engine speed in revs per minute, torque in lbft and power in BHP.

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Engine Torque Definition And Formula:

What is Engine Torque?

Torque, in simple terms, is Twisting or Turning Force. It is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis. In automotive terms, it is the measure of rotational effort applied on engine crankshaft by the piston.

Torque= Force x Distance. The SI system uses Newton-metre to measure the torque. The other units are kilogram-meter in metric and feet-pound-force in imperial / British units.

Every engine is designed and built for a specific purpose. Hence, its output varies depending upon its application. The torque output of an automotive engine mainly depends on its stroke-to-bore ratio, compression ratio, combustion pressures & speed in rpm. Most under-square engines which have higher stroke-length than its bore diameter, tend to develop the high amount of low-end torque. The amount of torque that an engine can exert depends upon the engine RPM.

Different engine designs/configurations develop different torque characteristics such as peak curve/flat curve. Most automotive engines produce useful torque output within a narrow band of the engines entire speed range. In petrol engines, it characteristically starts at around 1000-1200 rpm and reaching a peak in the range of 2,5004,000 rpm. Whereas in a diesel engine, it starts at around 1500-1700 rpm and peaking at 2000-3000 rpm. Bugatti Veyron is one of the cars with the highest torque figures.

Why Is Engine Torque Important

Torque and Horse-Power are the twin outputs of an engine. They are related and proportional to each other by speed. The ‘torque-band‘ in an engine curve represents its pulling ability which determines a vehicles ‘driveability‘& ‘acceleration‘. Torque is most needed while moving a vehicle from the stand-still and/or climbing a slope. Similarly, heavier is the vehicle or a vehicle with full rated load requires a higher amount of torque to pull it and get it moving. In a conventional engine, the horsepower governs vehicles top speed whereas torque controls its acceleration/pick-up. The rate of acceleration also depends on the vehicles weight and the load carried by the vehicle.

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How Do You Feel Torque

Think about when you accelerate hard for a moment. You put your foot down and after a period it varies depending on the kind of car youre in itll feel as if the engine has suddenly got more power. This is because youre accessing its maximum torque.

As you go faster and the revs build, itll feel as if the power is dropping away and to continue accelerating swiftly, youll have to change gear. Those waves of acceleration you feel are torque. In a powerful car, it will feel as if the car is being shoved along the road by an unseen hand.

How Torque Works In A Gasoline Engine

What is Torque? – Torque basics explained

Torque and horsepower have different characteristics, often peaking at different engine speed ranges, better known as revolutions per minute .

In an internal combustion engine , torque performance appears as a bell curve. After torque builds to its peak rpm, it will taper off as horsepower is simultaneously building to its peak rpm. This torque peak is when the engine has reached its most efficient and maximum speed for that torque rating.

Once a car is moving, torque is less important. For example, when cruising on the highway, the engine typically operates in its highest gear and at the lowest possible rpm. Why? Additional torque is no longer necessary to keep the vehicle in motion, so the drivetrain switches to its most efficient operation mode.

Small vehicles usually employ small engines that offer lower torque and horsepower numbers. Their lighter weight and anticipated use by owners means they don’t require larger and more powerful engines. Keeping the engines simple also keeps the vehicles affordable and fuel-efficient. But this doesn’t imply that all small cars are boring to drive.

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How This Works In Reality

An Audi Q7 SUV with a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine develops a hefty maximum torque of 760Nm at between 1750 and 3000RPM.

In comparison, a Ford Fiesta with a 1.0-litre petrol engine is significantly smaller and lighter than the Audi. Its engine only develops a maximum 105Nm of torque at 4100RPM.

Accelerating from standstill to the 70mph speed limit in the Audi will be a relatively relaxing affair. The huge torque will enable the automatic gearbox to change gears quite low in the rev range. It will feel swift and smooth.

In the Fiesta on the other hand, not only will it be slower, it will also feel more frantic. As theres less torque and you have to rev the engine higher to access the maximum torque, youll be changing gear at higher rpm. This will make it noisier inside the car.

Thats why sports cars are nearly always petrol and are often engineered to develop their peak torque at higher rpm. The higher the engine revs, the racier it feels.

Why Did People Choose Horsepower Over Elk Moose Or Deerpower

What are we, Canadian?

But really, horsepower came about as a Scottish engineer by the name of James Watt was looking to compare the output of steam engines and draft horses in order to sell people on his steam power businessyay greed! Observing a horse could turn a mill wheel 144 times per hour, and that the wheel had a 3.7-meter radius, Watt determined the horse could travel 2.4 × 2 × 12 feet in one minute.

Heres the equation for all you math nerds.

P=Wt=Fdt=180lbf x 2.4 x 2 x 12ft1min=32,572ft lbfmin

Watt could then apply this formula to his steam engines and determine how much more effective they were compared to the hay-eating, sleeping, big ole pooping horses everyone used at the time. Thus, horsepower was born. Maybe if elk or moose were more available at the time, Watt wouldve used them.


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How Does Horsepower Measure Engine Power

The various calculations are generally of interest only to mathematicians, but some numbers are unavoidable. Watt chose a relationship between how much weight a horse can lift while pulling a rope running through a pulley to a weight on the ground one foot high in one second. Today, we say that a horsepower is equal to a horse lifting 550 pounds of weight a foot high in one second. That number is what Watt arrived at when he decided he needed to settle on a standard, given that horses vary in strength.

That may seem like a lot, but there are garage-door openers with more. The average homeowners garage door opener is 1/2 hp, but there are 1 hp and 2 hp models available.

Horsepower is a measurement of the rate at which work is done, and differs from torque, which is a measurement of the amount of force applied to do that work. In your Toyotas engine, you can think of higher horsepower being the specification that will sustain a higher rate of work once moving, while torque is the figure that gets a car moving quickly.

In other words, engines high in horsepower but low in torque will feel less powerful from a stop than engines lower in horsepower but higher in torque. The higher horsepower engine will accelerate faster once at speed, however.

Horsepower Is All About Vehicle Performance


High-horsepower vehicles are designed for drivers who want speed and power under the hood. The higher a vehicles horsepower rating, the faster its likely to go, relative to its size.

A sports car, for example, may outpace a large sedan even if it has the same horsepower rating it the sports car is lighter or more compact. A car with more horsepower could also offer better handling on the roads.

Vehicles with higher horsepower ratings do still rely on torque, however. These cars are designed to have the right balance between torque and horsepower for the best driving experience possible.

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What’s The Difference Between Torque And Horsepower

By: Eric Baxter | Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Most commercials you see for big trucks advertise the impressive amount of horsepower and torque the engine provides. It seems, as usual, the bigger the numbers, the better. But what do those numbers mean, and how are the two concepts related?

The power an engine produces is called horsepower. In mathematical terms, one horsepower is the power needed to move 550 pounds one foot in one second, or the power needed to move 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute. Power, in physics, is defined simply as the rate of doing work.

Engine horsepower is measured using a dynamometer. The dynamometer places a load on the engine and measures the twisting force the engine crankshaft places against the load. The load is usually a brake preventing the wheels from spinning.

What the dynamometer is really doing, however, is measuring the torque output of the engine. In a vehicle, torque is measured at various engine speeds, or revolutions per minute . These two numbers are fed into a formula — torque times RPM divided by 5,252 — to arrive at horsepower. The Society of Automotive Engineers has two standards for determining horsepower: net and gross. Gross horsepower removes most loads from the engine, including emission controls, before testing. Net horsepower is what’s found by testing the same kind of stock vehicle you’d find at the showroom, and that’s the measurement now used in advertising and manufacturer literature.

They Work Differently For Vehicle Acceleration

When you press the gas pedal, your vehicle moves through a combination of torque and horsepower. But in terms of how they help you accelerate, they each have their own function.

In a nutshell, its torques job to get your car moving when you initially accelerate. Once the car is going, its horsepower that helps you get up to and maintain speed for your drive.

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Applying In Real Life

Without mentioning any specific brands, how do the figures of BHP and torque get applied to real-life vehicles. Lets say you have two cars, one boasting 240hp but only 144lb-ft of torque, and another with 180hp but 175lb-ft of torque. Regardless of what make or model they are, we can tell a lot from just these numbers.

Car 1: 240hp and 144lb-ft of Torque

This is a car built for performance. Its likely a sports car thats loaded with racetrack DNA, built for a high top speed, pleasing acceleration and dynamic performance all round. Its torque, while not very low, isnt commensurate with its raw power and speed in horsepower terms.

Car 2: 180hp and 175lb-ft of Torque

This is a car perhaps built for utility. The massive torque that it has means it is likely quite capable of carrying a larger payload, pulling a small trailer and coping on slopes. It could be an SUV, or it might even be a piece of farm machinery.

Overall, it may seem quite a simplification to some, but the main separating factors when it comes to application are performance and utility. BHP gives a car performance capabilities with a much higher top-end speed estimate. When youre on a track and driving competitively, a handful of additional BHP is all you need over an opponent to outmaneuver them and pass them at a critical stage.

Where Torque Is Useful

Torque vs Horsepower | How It Works

When people talk about how powerful their cars engine is, theyre usually referring to its torque. Thats the power you really feel when your car accelerates. And if you want a car that feels effortless, its quite simple: the more torque the better.

Anyone whos looking for a car to tow something, such as a caravan or boat, should consider the torque figure of any car theyre looking at. It really will make life much easier. Its also why people who tow a lot usually choose diesels.

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What About Hybrid And Electric Vehicles

The most important benefits of hybrids and EVs come from their electric motors. These motors not only save fuel, but they also provide excellent torque. Electric motors can replace internal combustion engines, or they can add to the torque from an internal combustion engine. Heres what you need to know about electric motors:

  • Torque output stays the same at all motor speeds.
  • Total power output rises uniformly with motor speed.
  • Automakers are now using electric motors to boost total torque output from their engines.

Remember this: Electric vehicles are great for quick acceleration.

How Does Torque Work In A Car

So, how does torque work in a car? The engine is where torque is generated. In an internal combustion engine, you have pistons moving up and down inside the cylinders and the energy is created by that reciprocating motion. The crankshaft translates this energy into a rotational force, which is torque, ultimately transmitting it to the drive wheels.

Simply put, torque is a measurement of your car’s ability to do work. So, the more torque, the greater amount of power an engine can produce. If your engine has a lot of torque, your car can accelerate more quickly when the vehicle is beginning to start. Torque is also important when your car is performing hard work such as moving heavy loads or climbing a steep hill.

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What Is The Difference Between Horsepower And Torque

While horsepower and torque do go hand in hand to ensure a fast ride, they are still two completely different aspects of your engines capability. You cant have one without the other, but you can have one high and one low. Let us explain.

Look at big trucks, for example. Thanks to a new 3.5 L PowerBoost Full Hybrid V6 engine, any 2021 Ford F-150 can produce 570 feet-pounds of torque, but you wouldnt dare bet on that pickup truck in a race. Thats because, despite its high torque, it only produces 430 horsepower. And while thats a decent amount, when you factor in the vehicles weight, the horsepower would have to be much higher for it to compete in a high-speed race. The torque in the F-150 does however help its towing and payload capacity.

Torque is essentially the power needed to get the car moving. This is what helps it to accelerate to the coveted two to three-second 0 to 60 mph time. On the other hand, horsepower will be responsible for the cars top speed and maintaining that speed. Thats why vehicles with V8, V12, and turbocharged engines can go so fast because they are producing more power. And where does that power come from?


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