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What does PS mean in terms of horsepower?

PS Power Measurement Unit Meaning and Origins

If you’ve been reading about European vehicles like McLaren, you’ve likely come across the measurement “PS.” PS is used when discussing a vehicles power, similarly to horsepower. It’s not immediately clear, however, what exactly PS is. As a result, people tend to ask us here at McLaren Chicago: what is PS, and how does it compare to horsepower?

PS was created to be the metric equivalent of horsepower. The letters stand for “pferdestärke,” which actually translates to “horsepower” in German. One PS is equal to about 0.9863 of one horsepower.

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Why was the PS measurement system created?

PS is intended to bring the rather outdated method of measuring power in terms of the strength of horses into the modern era; after all, not many people in the developed world use horses for work anymore. It’s considered to be the metric measurement of horsepower and has been adapted throughout the European Union.

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How is PS calculated in comparison to horsepower?

Instead of being a representation of the pulling power of horses going up a mineshaft (as is said to be the original basis of horsepower), PS is based on the amount of power needed to lift 75 kilograms of mass one meter vertically in one second.

The result is equal to 4,500 kilogram-meters per minute, which rounds out to 32,550 foot-pounds per minute of work. Horsepower, on the other hand, is supposed to be the equivalent of one horse lifting 33,000 pounds over one foot in one minute on the planet Earth.

It’s also worth noting that one PS is equivalent to 735.5 watts, while one HP is equivalent to 745.7 watts.

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