Do you have horsepower or torque?


Whilst not a rev-head, I do like cars.

I love the feeling of freedom I get when I’m in a car I really like, especially on Friday night’s going home from work!

When you drive a car, you can actually feel its power pretty easily. Put your foot down to get away from the lights (and yes, sneakily beat the person in the car next to you, so you merge ahead…admit it!) and you know how much power you’ve got.

Feels good when you go from 0 to 60kmh fast enough to merge ahead of the person next to you doesn’t it!


However, what’s interesting is when you get away faster than the other guy but she then gets ahead of you by the merge point. Hmmm. More power to them.

And when you hit the big hill. Do you accelerate going down the hill because you know you will need the extra speed to get up the other side? Or do you know that you have enough grunt to start over-taking people on the steep incline because you have that real engine grunt? A different sort of energy, right?

Engines have a couple of different measure of energy. They are described by sophisticated engineers and rev-heads alike as Horespower and Torque. They are obviously related. Horsepower  is the raw power of the engine and provides the ability to accelerate and go fast. Torque is the measure of power at any given point and provides the ability to accelerate quickly and perform under load. You can see, I’m no engineer, but that’s how I see these two.

Which is more important?

You are going to hate this answer, but obviously both and it depends.

Want to win a drag race? You need heaps of torque to get moving and keep moving AND heaps of horsepower to keep going faster. Want to tow a caravan?You need heaps of torque. Want to win a long distance speed race? Then pure horspower is critical. Want to cruise around the city at low speeds? Get a horse or a push bike.

Ok, so what?

Well, we all have horsepower and torque in ourselves. Y

ou really get to know someone’s energy levels when you meet them and then get to know them. You know what I mean:

  • there’s the person who is full of beans initially but fades after a little while
  • then there’s person who starts a little slower but keeps building momentum as you get to know them
  • and the person who is very consistent until there’s a problem and then their energy lifts to tackle the problem.

It’s not to say there’s a right or wrong energy level.

It’s a question of fitness for task. Have lots of sprints to do? Have a long haul project? Have a big challenge ahead?

Then knowing people’s horsepower and torque becomes critical.

Now, there’s one exception to my thoughts on energy levels. I struggle with dementors. You know, those nasty characters from the Harry Potter stories who suck the energy of you. Ever met one. Give them a horse.

ps please don’t critique my engineering analogies….:-)


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