Why does the speedometer go so much higher than the top speed?

Why does the speedometer go so much higher than the top speed?


Have you ever seen a Kia Picanto flying at a speed of 220 kilometers per hour? Annoying that you were disturbed by the sound of the alarm clock. And yet the Picanto counter shows 220 km/h, like many of its competitors such as the VW Up. But why does the car’s speedometer always go higher than the car’s top speed?

CNN asked Toyota, who came up with a clear answer. Automakers prefer to keep commonly used speeds in a practical and easy-to-read location. So you’d rather have highway speeds in the middle of the counter. And keep things symmetrical, they also fill the rest of the counter.

On standard models you often see that the highway kilometers are somewhere above the counter, so that you can read them clearly. For high-performance models, that’s a different story. The BMW M2 you see above can easily reach 300 with a little help from the converter. The Bugatti in the photo also uses a large part of its counter.

There is no maximum that the counters can display

There are no rules about what odometers can show at high speeds. That has been a matter of debate for some time. In 1979 there was a law in America that counters were not allowed to indicate more than 85 mph (136 km/h) because it would encourage speeding and people tried to reduce the use of ships after several oil crises. Two years later, the law was repealed again, but economy counters could still be seen in American cars for a few years.

There is a low speed

According to European law, the odometer in the car must at least show the maximum speed of the car. If the car reaches 160 km / h, then the counter cannot stop at 130 km / h, just to name a few. European legislation does not provide for an upper limit. Counters for vehicles of type L1 (for example mopeds) cannot exceed 80 km / h.

There are, however, rules for numerical intervals between dashes. If the speed on the meter does not exceed 200 km / h, the intervals between the numbers should not exceed 20 km / h. So you might not have a calculator that shows 30 and 60, but 80 and 100, for example. If the speed on the meter is higher than 200 km/h, the intervals may exceed 30 km/h.