How to work out a car's horsepower per ton

Written by c. taylor
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How to work out a car's horsepower per ton
Calculating the number of horsepower per metric ton. (Out of Rubber image by JDsheely from

Everybody advertises a vehicle's horsepower, but horsepower by itself doesn't mean much. A heavy vehicle can bog down a high horsepower, resulting in poor performance. Likewise, a lighter vehicle doesn't need as much horsepower to go very fast. To take into account the weight of the car, performance enthusiasts frequently cite horsepower per ton. This gives a more accurate picture of a vehicle's performance by taking into account the horsepower as it relates to the weight it must move.

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  1. 1

    Look up the vehicle's horsepower and weight in kilograms. These are usually available in the manufacturer's brochure or specification sheet.

  2. 2

    Convert kilograms into metric tons, which are most frequently used when calculating horsepower/ton. One metric ton equals 1,000 kilograms, so just divide the number of kilograms by 1,000 to get the number of metric tons, or tonnes.

  3. 3

    Divide the horsepower by the weight in metric tons. As an example, if you had a 400hp car that weighed 1.5 metric tons, then it would have 267hp/ton. If you had a 200 horsepower motorcycle that weighed just 200kg (0.200 metric tons), it would have 1,000hp/ton. Notice that the motorcycle has nearly four times as much horsepower per metric ton, even though it technically has half the actual horsepower.

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