Continental has opened its first non-European turbocharger plant at the Continental site in Jiading near Shanghai, China. The new facility will produce the cutting-edge RAAX turbocharger, developed by Continental for the Volkswagen Group’s EA888 Gen.3B engine platform and in production in Europe since 2016, in the Audi A3.
In the Chinese market, this 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine will debut in the VW Teramont SUV, followed by the VW Tiguan and other high-volume models. Meanwhile, production of the RAAX turbocharger, for the same Volkswagen Group engine, at the Continental plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico will commence in 2018.
“Right from the start, our turbocharger activities have been focused on the gasoline segment, and now this strategy has been vindicated by a sharp rise in demand for turbocharged gasoline engines. The new Chinese facility, where our latest technologies will be built to the highest quality standards, will secure us a strong position in the world’s largest automobile market. And by next year, when production will also launch in North America, we will have manufacturing bases across all three market regions, all operating to the same high standards,” said Wolfgang Breuer, head of Continental’s Engine Systems business unit.
The RAAX turbine technology developed by Continental, which first went into production in the EA888 engine platform, improves engine response and also increases efficiency. While the most common type of gasoline turbocharger today, the radial turbocharger, features a radial exhaust gas flow to the turbine wheel, the new Continental turbocharger features a radial-axial flow – hence the name RAAX. This makes it possible to substantially reduce the size of the turbine wheels, and to reduce the mass moment of inertia by approximately 40%.