How to Convert CC to HP: The Different Methods

Mechanical Motor Engine Automobile

You’ll find plenty of units of measurements in cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and other automobiles, especially when it comes to their engines. Two of the most popular ones that you need to learn about are cubic centimeters and horsepower. You must also know how to convert cc to HP to understand better how engines work.

But how to convert CC to HP? Cubic centimeters (cc) and horsepower (HP) are different measurements but can both affect your engine’s power. Converting cc to HP is easy using two different methods, depending on the size of your engine. That said, the results you obtain are only rough estimates.

Let’s get into details on the methods of converting cc to HP and HP to cc to see the correlation between the two in terms of affecting the engine’s performance. We will also talk about cc and HP in more detail for you to gain more knowledge about these vital engine units of measurements. These pieces of knowledge will be beneficial in choosing the right vehicle for your specific needs and lifestyle.

Cubic Centimeters Versus Horsepower

Before you can convert cc to horsepower, you must first know the meaning of each term. It will help you better understand what each represents and why the conversion methods are how they are.

What Is CC?

Also known as engine capacity or displacement, cc measures volume, specifically total fuel or air volume mixture displaced by the engine’s pistons. Apparently, low-powered engines can displace power ranging from about 1,000 to 2,000 cubic centimeters, while high-powered ones approximately produce between 7,500 and 8,200 cubic centimeters.

Some of you might be more familiar with liters, as some manufacturers use the unit to note engine capacity. With that in mind, you can also convert liters to cc by multiplying liters by 1000cc or cc to liters by multiplying cc by 0.001 or dividing cc by 1000.

How Do You Compute for Engine Capacity?

For you to compute your vehicle’s engine capacity, you must use the formula:

  • V = π/4 x (D)² x H x N


  • V: Cylinder Volume or CC
  • π: 3.14
  • D: Bore’s Diameter
  • H: Stroke’s Length
  • N: Number of Cylinders

You can usually find the automobile engine’s bore diameter, stroke length, and number of cylinders on the user’s manual and manufacturer’s website.

Why Does CC Matter?

The engine’s cc will have a direct effect on the following:

  • Power

Engine displacement or capacity affects your engine’s torque and horsepower. Generally, a high-capacity engine will suck more air into its cylinder/s, increasing the air volume present. This then increases the amount of fuel inside your vehicle’s engine. That means it would need more power to burn the fuel present.

Hence, the engine’s capacity is directly proportional to the engine’s power output. Meaning, when the engine has a high capacity, it produces more power.

  • Fuel Efficiency and Mileage

As mentioned, as the power output increases, fuel consumption also increases. On the contrary, as this happens, there is a reduction in fuel mileage. Meaning fuel mileage and efficiency is inversely proportional to the engine’s cc.

What Is HP?

A horsepower is a measurement unit for the amount of work performed by a vehicle engine, taking into account how efficient it works. James Watt coined the term horsepower based on his estimation that the work performed by an average horse in 60 seconds is 33,000 foot-pounds.

As such, one HP produced by an engine is equivalent to 33,000 foot-pounds. So, if your engine produces 500HP, the amount of work it produces is 16,500,000 foot-pounds.

How Do You Compute for Engine HP?

To compute for horsepower, you must use the formula:

  • Horsepower = (T x RPM) / 5,252


  • T: Torque
  • RPM: Speed

Why Does Horsepower Matter?

Your engine’s horsepower is vital because of its effect on the following:

  • Speed

From the formula above, you can see that horsepower is directly related to speed. That means the higher the horsepower, the faster the vehicle is. Whether you need a mode of transportation with a low or high speed would depend on your personal needs and lifestyle.

  • Hauling Performance

Torque and horsepower both relate to the engine or automobile’s power, so a vehicle with a higher horsepower can haul objects more efficiently than those with a lower horsepower rating. This is also why vehicles with high weights usually have high HP ratings.

Thus, if you plan to haul a trailer, attach a bicycle carrier rack (view on Amazon) or hitch mount cargo carrier (view on Amazon), or other pieces of equipment for your adventures, you must consider one with a high horsepower rating. It also means that if you frequently travel with your family, you shouldn’t only look at the vehicle’s load capacity but also its HP rating.

  • Fuel-Efficiency and Mileage

As noted above, the engine would need to inject more fuel into the cylinder to increase its horsepower. That means a higher HP rating will negatively affect the engine’s fuel economy and mileage, which is quite similar to engine capacity.

How to Convert CC to HP

Black Casio Calculator

At this point, you already know that HP and cc aren’t similar. Also, their relationship is complex and challenging to pinpoint because it will depend on several factors. For instance, HP depends on your automobile engine’s size, capacity, design, fuel type, timing, and valves, while cc is dependant on your vehicle engine’s bore, chambers, and design.

Converting one unit to the other might seem unimportant or useless. However, as a responsible vehicle owner or soon-to-be owner, gaining knowledge besides the usual exterior and interior features is vital. Getting to know and having a deeper understanding of your vehicle specs will ensure you know how exactly it works.

How Many CC Is a Horsepower?

In terms of cc to hp conversion, there is really no direct way of doing so. It would require several conversions and formulas, as well as methods. You don’t have to be a mathematician or learn about complicated formulas just to convert 1000 cc to HP. All you need are basic mathematical concepts, specifically multiplication and division.

Method #1: Range

Several illustrations to prove the slight correlation between HP and cc of various engine sizes and types reveal that one HP is equivalent to roughly 14cc to 17cc. These numbers are what you can use for this conversion technique.

  • Step #1: Divide your vehicle engine’s capacity by 15.
  • Step #2: Divide your vehicle engine’s capacity by 17.

The result you get is the approximate horsepower range of your automobile engine. The result in step #1 is the approximate maximum HP, while the step #2 result is the approximate minimum HP.

Let’s go over two examples to illustrate the calculation better.

Example #1: How Much HP is 1500 cc?
  • Step #1: 1500cc/15 = 100HP
  • Step #2: 1500cc/17 = 88.24HP

Hence, a 1500cc or 1.5L engine has an approximate HP range of 88.24 to 100.

Example #2: How Much HP is 2000 cc?
  • Step #1: 2000cc/15 = 133.33
  • Step #2: 2000cc/17 = 117.65

The results above mean that a 2000cc or 2L engine will likely have an HP range of 117.65 to 133.33.

Apart from using the method provided above, you may also opt to use online CC to HP calculators, which will give an HP estimate after you input your engine’s capacity.

Method #2: Approximation

This HP to CC conversion method is specific for small engines with four cycles. Experts reveal that approximately a 32.2cc four-cycle engine will produce one horsepower, giving us a formula of:

  • HP = Engine capacity/32.2

Using the formula above, let’s look at some examples.

Example #1: How Much HP Is 200 cc?
  • 200cc/32.2 = 6.21HP

Hence, a 200cc or 0.2L small, four-cycle engine has a horsepower of about 6.21.

Example #2: How Much HP Is 500 cc?
  • 500cc/32.2 = 15.53

As such, a 500cc or 0.5L small, four-cycle engine has an approximate horsepower of 15.53.

How to Convert HP to CC

Black Jeep Renegade Car Headlight

Apparently, all you have to do to convert horsepower to cubic centimeters is to reverse the formulas provided above. That is multiplying instead of dividing the known number or HP.

Method #1: Range

The two steps involved in this conversion are:

  • Step #1: Multiply your vehicle engine’s HP by 15.
  • Step #2: Multiply your vehicle engine’s HP by 17.

The result obtained from step #1 is the approximate maximum engine capacity, while the product from step #2 is the approximate minimum engine capacity. Below are two examples to guide you on how to convert HP to cc using this method.

Example #1: How Many CC Is a 150HP Engine?

  • Step #1: 150 x 15 = 2250cc
  • Step #2: 150 x 17 = 2550cc

Thus, a 150HP engine will have an approximate engine capacity range of 2250cc (2.25L) to 2550cc (2.5L).

Example #2: How Many CC Is a 400HP Engine?

  • Step #1: 400 x 15 = 6000cc
  • Step #2: 400 x 17 = 6800cc

The results show that a 400HP engine will have a capacity ranging from about 6000cc (6L) to 6800cc (6.8L).

Method #2: Approximation

For a small, four-cycle engine, you must multiply the engine’s horsepower by 32.2. Below are two examples that you can use as a guide.

Example #1: How Many CC Is a 3 HP Engine?

  • Estimated Capacity = 3 x 32.2
  • Estimated Capacity =  96.6

From the results obtained above, we can estimate that a 3HP engine will have a total capacity of 96.6cc (0.096L).

Example #2: How Many CC Is a 6 HP Engine?

  • Estimated Capacity = 6 x 32.2
  • Estimated Capacity = 193.2

The result above tells you that a 6HP engine will have a total capacity of approximately 193.2cc (0.19L).

How to Convert CC to HP: In Conclusion

An engine’s performance depends on many factors, including its capacity or displacement and horsepower. These two belong in different units of measurements but have a connection because they affect the engine’s total power and fuel efficiency, and mileage.

Although you can find HP to cc and cc to HP converters or calculators and find these numbers on the user’s manual or manufacturer’s website, it’s always best to convert the numbers on your own or manually. This way, you’ll understand your car, motorcycle, speedboat, and ATV specs better, which is vital when you’re planning to purchase any of the modes of transportation.

The conversion methods or formulas provided above will give you a rough estimate, so there is a small room for error. Keep in mind that method one is for moderate to large engines, while method two is for small, four-cycle engines. Make sure you use the right formula for your unit’s engine when you start converting.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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