Nissan Middle East and NatGeo Invent Camelpower, a Version of Horsepower for Cars in the Desert

Automaker wants global accreditation for the metric

Headshot of Angela Natividad

In the Middle East, desert off-road driving is a renowned pastime. But cars use horsepower to measure their capacities, which isn’t really helpful for mighty desert dunes.

Horsepower is a road metric. The Nissan GT-R, for example, is pretty strong in terms of horsepower … but it sucks in the desert.

To correct this issue, Nissan Middle East and National Geographic have partnered up to present a new metric—camelpower, a unit to measure desert performance.

Like horsepower, camelpower is measured based on how quickly an actual camel can move in the desert, especially over dunes. To ensure they’d get it right, they measured a camel’s movement across a 60-meter-long slope angled at nine degrees. SUV performance was calculated in watts, as was the performance of the camels. The car’s watts are divided by the camels’ average, which provides the camelpower rating.

One camelpower is equal to 765 watts.

The concept has been in the works for over a year and a half with help from TBWA\RAAD in Dubai, and the Emirates Authority has approved it. It will soon be sent in for global ISO accreditation so all car brands can apply it to their SUV desert models.

Assuming this actually becomes a global unit of measurement, and that other brands find it useful enough to take up, it will earn Nissan some well-deserved soft power in the region. By working proactively to introduce camelpower, it also demonstrates its vehicles are as “perfectly made for the desert” (per the website) as camels are.

To learn more, visit and watch the 11-minute doc below.

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.