Talking Torque & Kilowatts

I have experienced many awkward situations and one of them involved an interesting topic of which I new nothing about. I remember how everyone’s eyes were on me to comment or say something smart about the topic at hand, I was ‘saved by the bell’ as my phone rang away.

From that day on I decided to do a lot of reading so that I may be that one guy who is informed about almost everything. The same happened to a friend of mine recently and the topic was about how diesel engines are better than petrol engines when it comes to torque, and yes he had no clue what we were on about, so this article is dedicated to my buddy and those who want to know more about cars.

Nearly every industry, sport and most things that you find have their jargon. You might have heard of petrol heads talking about horsepower, torque, kilowatts and so on. Not everyone understands what these terms mean (like the friend I mentioned) so that’s what we will focus on in this article.

First up is Torque. What is torque?

Torque is the amount of force needed to turn, push or pull. In cars and motorbikes we refer to it as the power or force available to turn the wheels. Torque is measured in Newtown Meters hence you will see the symbol N/M when one is talking about the measure of torque.

Henney Kilowatt.jpg

What are Kilowatts?

The other term you may hear a lot in motoring is Kilowatts. This is simply a metric unit used to measure the power produced by the engine and is thus measured by Watts. Think of the light bulb you have at your home or at the office, it produces anything from 40 to 100 watts. The higher the number of watts the brighter the light from the globe will be. The same goes for cars and bikes; a car with 150 kW should be faster than one with only 100 kW.

In Conclusion the easiest way to think about it is – if Kilowatts tells you how fast the car can ultimately go, then torque tells you how hard it can push you there. Torque matters as much, if not more so, than power in KW because it’s the force you feel when you accelerate. If you regularly tow a trailer, or frequently carry a fully loaded car, then having plenty of torque is important because it helps you pull your load on-wards.

I really hope this has simplified terms for you, if not let me know and I’ll dig deeper.

Pic: Henny Kilowatt Car


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