Getting Past The Hump: Camel Power Is The New Horsepower

Measuring how much power your car or truck makes is nothing new–horsepower, torque, newton meter, Pferdestärke (PS), watts…the list can be rather lengthy and difficult to sometimes difficult to convert because different countries use different units of measure. What about adding in a NEW measure of power, perhaps Camel Power. What? Well the team over at Nissan want to create Camel Power as the new measure of desert performance and they’re pretty serious about making it happen.


The video is most likely not in a language you’ll understand, but they’ve got subtitles to help us out. They start by explaining that the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,etc) is filled with giant buildings, but also a rather expansive desert filled with serene sand dunes for driving on. Because of the complexity of sand, high horsepower isn’t always the answer to how your SUV or truck will perform. Nissan says that creating a standard Camel Power measurement falls inline with their purpose: Innovation that excites. Specifically designed to measure a car’s performance in the desert, and identify how well a vehicle really performs in the desert on sand dunes.

Camel Power mesures the rate of change of potential energy at a set velocity and distance, divided by the total time taken while climbing a sloped trajectory. You can then calculate power by multiplying the cars mass by gravity by the Sine of the slope’s angle, and by the distance it covers divided by the time it takes to cover the specified distance on the slope. Did you catch all that? Maybe not, but their mathematicians claim it’s accurate.


The Nissan team begins their experiment on a 60 meter slope with a 9 degree angle. To gather a baseline of what one camel power is, they determine how many watts are one camel power. Using two camels (it sounds like they work better with a partner) they race up the sandy slope several times to give an average speed. After entering in the numbers, they determine that one camelpower is 765 watts. Now that a camel power has been calculated, they will run several suv’s and truck’s up the slope to determine a reliable average time they are capable of producing.


Each vehicle tested claws its way from start to finish, providing data that allows them to calculate “camel power.” Nissan knows they have a long way before reaching their goal. Ultimately, they were able to earn attention from the Emirates Authority For Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) which is a government body that formulates and issues UAE standards. Now that camel power is under more review and testing, they hope to propose the new measurement to the GCC Standardization Organization, with ultimate goals of creating a internationally recognized measurement of power, created in the UAE.


Will you start seeing dyno charts with camelpower (CP or even WCP) from the local tuners? Probably not, but we can see how this would be useful in the desert. The huge part of the equation though is that there are so many variables. Type of sand, actual rated horsepower, tires, suspension? The list goes on and on. Although the camelpower measurement may seem arbitrary, it’s possible that it would provide a potential gauge of what SUV or trucks are better than others.

About the author

Charles Pages

With an ever growing passion for cars, trucks and things that go fast, Charles is always seeking new information and ways to increase vehicle performance and handling. With experience among diverse vehicles, Charles gives an enthusiastic "YES" to anything performance.
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