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Continental to supply turbochargers for new Ford 1.0L EcoBoost engines

Developed for the latest 1-liter downsized gasoline engines. Click to enlarge.

Continental will be supplying Ford with turbochargers for the carmaker’s new three-cylinder direct injection gasoline engine platform. (Earlier post.) The first two engines will generate 74 and 88 kW from a displacement of just one liter. These EcoBoost engines are slated for installation initially in the 2012 Ford Focus and later, in the Ford C-Max and in the completely new Ford B-Max.

The successful collaboration with Ford resulted in a turbocharger design that meets the particular technical challenges posed by small, downsized engines. The thermodynamics of the turbocharger system have been optimized to achieve the best possible coordination and balance between the compressor and turbine stages. The geometry of the blades has been specifically developed to suit the engine requirements.

By minimizing rotating masses and thus reducing inertia, and by optimizing thermodynamics, we have invested our turbocharger with excellent response characteristics.

—Udo Schwerdel, head of Continental’s turbocharger product line

The turbocharger’s 38-millimeter diameter turbine rotates at up to 240,000 revolutions per minute (4,000 revolutions per second) in the exhaust flow, which can reach 1,050 degrees.

In order to prevent pressure from rising too steeply at high engine output, a waste-gate valve conducts the exhaust gases past the turbine. On the compressor side, a compressor bypass valve prevents air, which has already been compressed, from forcing its way back into the compressor housing when the throttle closes. This safeguard prevents compressor surge, which could damage the turbocharger.

Continental began developing turbochargers for gasoline engines in 2006. Free from the constraints of legacy designs or existing production facilities, Continental was able to start from scratch and develop an improved product. All the main components are designed for fully automated assembly along the same axis, whereas conventional turbochargers have to be put together in several stages, partly by hand. Fully-automated assembly not only ensures top quality but also generates cost benefits—an important consideration in view of the high volume of three-cylinder engines that Ford plans to build.

The new Continental turbochargers will be manufactured by Schaeffler, Continental’s partner in this venture, at its production plant in Lahr, Germany. The site will have sufficient production capacity for up to two million turbochargers a year.

Prior to starting the project, market studies revealed future worldwide demand for small, downsized turbocharged gasoline engines in response to the quest to sustainably reduce fuel consumption. But since Continental’s turbocharger design is scalable and flexible, it can be adapted to larger gasoline or diesel engines as well.

To meet the growing demands of tighter emissions regulations, the Powertrain Division is concentrating on developing and manufacturing fuel efficient engine systems. Aside from turbochargers, one of the most promising technologies for reducing fuel consumption is the Piezo injector, which particularly benefits diesel engines. Continental has managed to squeeze out a 10% improvement in diesel mileage over engines without these elements, simply by employing its high-end injection system in conjunction with downsizing and heat management. Continental’s after-treatment system can add another 4% to this figure.

Another innovation is the newly devised fuel-quality sensor. It improves injection by determining the quality of the fuel, thus helping to protect both the engine and the environment.



But is it a good engine to pair with a generator/motor plug-in Hybrid drivetrain? The particulars in that regard are more important.


Translation: 74 and 88 kW = 99 and 118 hp respectively. Or, approx 100hp per litre.

Richard Lam

Oh how I wish this could be placed in a Chevrolet Volt which would improve its Charge Sustain MPG greatly.

I was wondering if it is possible to use a Miller Cycle + Supercharger, to make this engine even more efficient?

Or does the use of different cycles (Atkinson/Miller) prevent the use of a Turbo?

Roger Pham

Miller-cycle using turbocharger is very good in a HEV, because the electric motor can provide boost at low engine speed. Without electric boost, a displacement supercharger such as Roots or Lyshom twin-screw is generally used, driven by the engine, in order to provide better torque at low engine power, when the exhaust pressure is very low, making turbocharger impractical.

With a significant battery size in the Volt, the added complication of a turbocharger can be avoided, since there is plenty of electric boost instantly and for a long time, unless you want to drive for hours at over 160 kph in the Autobahn. At 88kW boosted power, I'd bet that it can produce somewhere around 45-50 kW without turbocharging, and that's plenty good for a PHEV.

does the use of different cycles (Atkinson/Miller) prevent the use of a Turbo?

This engine is somewhat overpowered for a PHEV (who needs 100 HP continuous power for anything except climbing mountains with a trailer?) but it would work fine in a PHEV with the Miller cycle. The key would be to increase the turbine size to handle a greater exhaust flow before opening the waste gate, and tap the extra power with an alternator on the shaft or built into the compressor wheel. The battery offsets the turbo lag, and the combination of lower compression work by the engine and recovery of exhaust energy via the turbo alternator increases efficiency beyond a conventional Atkinson cycle. Boost can be regulated by varying the power taken from the alternator, allowing the compressor speed to be controlled somewhat independently of engine speed and throttle setting without resorting to the waste gate.

An intercooled turbo with a relatively high pressure ratio (perhaps upwards of 3:1) can allow the engine to run at very asymmetrical compression/expansion ratios, increasing knock resistance and energy recovery. That's the next obvious step.


If this turbo can improve combustion efficiency, then fine. If all it does is act as a performance enhancer for maniacs to pretend their 'equipment' is bigger, then it's a spurious status symbol.

Roger Pham

That's a very good idea, E-P!
Get rid of the waste gate, since it's just a uh...waste... of power and energy!
Downsize the ICE in an HEV even more, thereby increase efficiency by 30-50% more. A very efficient ICEV can take advantage of compressed fuel like NG and H2 using smaller tanks to reduce cost and increase internal space. For local driving, use H2, while for long-distance trips, use NG, which can triple the range. A 2-kg H2 tank is all that'll be needed when the vehicle can also use NG for range extension.


Very interesting EP, do you think an Prius atkinson cycle ICE would gain from this?

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