Continental Makes Successful Entry into New Market Segment with Turbocharger for Ford

Published on August 7th, 2012

With the new turbocharger for gasoline engines, Continental has successfully expanded its product portfolio – as proven by the extremely positive response to the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine from Ford. In its first full month of sales, this highly efficient three-cylinder engine – which has been available in the Ford Focus since April – was ordered by almost a quarter of Ford Focus buyers in Europe, with this figure even reaching almost 30% in Germany and Great Britain.

And the engine received the highest accolade at this year’s International Engine of the Year Awards. The jury comprising 76 motoring journalists from 35 countries voted the new Ford engine “International Engine of the Year 2012”, awarding it the highest ever score in this prestigious competition’s 13-year history. The experts also awarded this innovative three-cylinder engine first prize in the categories “Best New Engine” and “Best Engine Under 1.0 Liter”. This competition rewards the level of innovation in new engine developments and technology as well as aspects such as drivability, performance, economy and smooth running characteristics.

“We would like to congratulate Ford on this impressive achievement and we are of course delighted that our turbocharger with its completely new design has made such an important contribution”, said Udo Schwerdel, Head of Continental’s turbocharger product line. “Thanks to this highly cooperative and successful collaboration with Ford, we have designed a turbocharger that meets the technical challenges posed by small, downsized engines.” For the Ford Focus, the innovative 1-liter engine is available with two different power outputs (74 kW and 92 kW). From the fall onward, it will also be available in the new Ford B-MAX MPV. This year will also see its introduction in the Ford C-MAX/Grand C-MAX range.

The new turbocharger from Continental is characterized by its outstanding thermodynamics and the resulting high level of efficiency, both with regard to the turbines and compressors. “The optimized thermodynamics along with the minimization of moving masses and the resulting reduction in mass moment of inertia give our turbocharger superb response characteristics,” said Udo Schwerdel. In the exhaust flow, the turbocharger turbine rotates at speeds of up to 240,000 revolutions per minute – or 4,000 revolutions per second. A wastegate valve prevents the charge pressure from increasing excessively at high engine outputs, while a compressor-side diverter valve ensures that the already compressed air does not blow back into the compressor housing when the valve closes.

Dawn of a new generation of turbochargers

While conventional turbochargers sometimes need to be assembled manually in multiple stages, the main components of the new turbocharger from Continental are designed in such a way that they can be assembled fully automatically on one axis. This not only ensures high quality and robustness, but also delivers cost benefits. The new turbochargers are manufactured by Schaeffler, Continental’s partner in this venture, at its site in Lahr, which has capacity for up to two million units a year.

In response to the increasing global demand for small, downsized engines with significantly reduced consumption and emissions, Continental is focusing initially on the development of a small turbocharger. But the concept is so scalable and flexible that it can be easily adapted to other engine sizes and outputs, thereby forming the basis for a whole new generation of innovative turbochargers “made by Continental”.

words & pix: Continental

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