The automotive industry uses loads of units for technical specifications (power, torque, and distances). Unfortunately, countries work with distinct units, which can be tricky to acknowledge. What is the difference between HP, BHP, PS, and CV? This is why we need a unit converter. Don’t worry, there’s no big deal. Image: Gordon Murray Automotive, Cosworth ©

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What is the real difference between HP BHP PS and CV?

The disparity takes its roots from the industrial revolution. In fact, HP BHP and PS are different units, yet close in terms of value.

CV (chevaux-vapeur or CH – chevaux) and PS (Pferde Stärke) both come from the DIN regulations/measurements. CV and PS are equal: 1 CV/PS is the required power to lift a 75 kg (165.3 lbs) up to 1 meter in 1 second. The result of this small calculation is 735.49875 Watts.

HP is almost the same, except they lifted a… 76 kg (167.6 lbs) weight. The result is 745.3054 Watts.

Brake-horsepower (BHP) is not that different from the other units. BHP is actually an addition of friction (power) losses and HP. Somehow, the measurement is different. BHP is measured by applying a brake power to the crankshaft, while HP is at the wheels. To summarize, BHP is the power output of the engine, without drivetrain losses.

HP = BHP - power losses

Is CV and HP the same?

No, it is not the same unit. CV (and PS) is almost identical to HP, but there is a slight difference: 1 CV = 1.013 HP.

How do you convert HP to BHP?

It is possible to easily convert HP to kW, BHP and so on, mph to kph, Nm to ft-lbs and vice versa. For more details, check out this comprehensive Wikipedia page or scroll down the bottom of this page for a simple explanation. Would you like another unit? Feel free to contact us.

For instance, with this tool, we can “translate” the power output of the Alfa Romeo Giulia we tested. If we type in its value in the SI unit (397 kW), we now know it delivers 532,67 HP, 526,20 BHP and 539,77 CV/PS. Another example, 800 hp to kW power equals to 596.25 kW. Try it by yourself!

Live converting tool

Here is our live and quick tool for those 3 main specs: power, torque and speed.

Enter the value to convert into the correct field. The conversion will be fully automatic.

Power conversion

Speed conversion

Torque conversion