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Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., Engine and Power Products Division announced August 25 that starting in September, it will begin rating its engines in accordance with SAE J2723. Kawasaki officials believe this “Critical Power” rating will alleviate end user confusion over horsepower labeling and “usable” power.

The move to Critical Power ratings is a departure from the wide tolerance that is currently permitted by SAE J1940, which has been the generally applied industry standard. This new, stringent testing and rating method will assure consumers that they are receiving at least 98 percent of their rated values, not the 15-percent potential variable permitted under SAE J1940.

“SAE J2723 is the standard used in the automotive industry to achieve SAE certification,” said Greg Knott, applications engineering manager at Kawasaki. “That standard says that what you rate an engine to, your test results have to be at least 98 percent of that. For example, if you rate an engine at 10 horsepower, your test results — and the engines you produce from your assembly line — have to be at least 9.8 horsepower. That’s a departure from SAE J1940, which allows you to be 85 percent of what you rate. So with SAE J1940, if you rate an engine at 10 horsepower, your test results can be as low as 8.5 horsepower. So this is quite a significant change moving to SAE J2723.”

According to Laura Holtrop, OEM sales manager at Kawasaki, the change is expected to alleviate some of the confusion end users might have had in the past when comparing and making purchase decisions based on claimed horsepower ratings.

Holtrop added that OEMs were involved with this process from the beginning, working on the opportunity to clarify some of the confusion in the marketplace.

Kawasaki will stress performance and integrity in ratings through reliance on the very strict SAE J2723 standard. None of the newly rated engines will exhibit performance differences when compared to current engines being sold.

“The design is the same, and the performance that the end user is going to receive is the same,” said Knott. “What has changed is the way that the engines are rated.”

According to Knott, with Kawasaki’s advancements in new products, as well as advancements in design and manufacturing capabilities, the new standards better reflect Kawasaki’s capabilities.

Knott added that although Kawasaki sees this as quite an aggressive position and a departure from the norm, he can’t speculate about what their competition, or the rest of the industry, will do.

“But we do feel it is the right direction for Kawasaki, and we hope that others will follow,” he said.