Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How much power is your car losing on the Highveld?

I am no auto-mechanic, nor can I claim to know an extensive amount of stuff on the subject, however this is something that a lot of people don't realise about living in Jo'burg (or other cities at a significant elevation above sea level - JHB sits at around 1600m above sea level).

Up here on the Highveld, or the "Reef" as it is often referred to, an internal combustion engine loses power due to the higher altitude (and therefore the reduced amount of oxygen available for the engine to "breathe").
This is more severe for naturally aspirated (non-turbo) engines, to the tune of approx. 15% power loss at JHB altitude!

So if you drive a car with 100kW engine power output (on paper), you are actually only getting around 85kW up in JHB... that's a lot!

So next time you go on holiday to the coast, take note of how your car performs at sea level, and enjoy becoming a boy (or girl) racer for a short while... :)
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