An integrated toolchain for hybrid vehicle powertrains enabling optimisation of energy usage, and engine and aftertreatment calibration

Ricardo is developing an integrated toolchain for hybrid electric vehicle powertrains enabling simultaneous optimisation of hybrid engine and aftertreatment calibration.


The Horizon 2020 THOMSON (Mild Hybrid cOst effective solutions for a fast Market penetration) project is an EU-funded industry and academia collaboration which aims to demonstrate the potential of cost efficient 48V systems to increase vehicle fuel economy and to reduce pollutant emissions, thus supporting a faster penetration of electrified powertrains into the market.

The twin approach (through Diesel and CNG applications) proposed in the project will demonstrate the potential of complementary functions, e.g. e-boosting and an e-heated catalyst, thanks to the energy recovery capability with mild hybridisation.

Customer Benefit

The Ricardo-developed toolchain enables hardware evaluation for different solutions quickly in an integrated model-based development (IMBD) environment, facilitating rapid selection of optimum solutions within specified design constraints whilst minimising CO2.

Specifics of the toolchain include:

  • Identifying CO2 reductions at no additional cost through assessing complex interactions between technologies and delivering optimum synergies between powertrain technologies
  • Reducing product development time and cost through:
    • Supporting hardware selection and assisting control strategy development
    • Reducing calibration time by providing initial calibration results during the optimisation process
    • Delivering optimisation studies in a few days, allowing ultiple investigations to be performed in a short project duration
  • Improving robustness and quality of early system decisions
  • Leveraging Ricardo expertise to accurately model and integrate each sub-system to the appropriate level of fidelity for the project

The new toolchain offers integrated plug-and-play co-simulation for hybrid vehicle powertrains enabling simultaneous optimisation of energy usage and sub-system calibration, through real-time simulation models and industry-leading design of experiment tools.

It has demonstrated the potential for a 2-5% CO2 reduction at no additional on-cost for a Diesel Hybrid and has highlighted the significance of drivability constraints on the achievable CO2 benefits for a gasoline hybrid.


The targets for the toolset development aspect of the project are to:

  • Develop an integrated hybrid vehicle toolchain capturing electric, thermal, and mechanical energy flows
  • Develop an optimisation method to allow cost/benefit evaluation of the technologies and inform hardware selection

The functional requirements of the toolchain are:

  • Integrated models must be of sufficient fidelity to enable confident hardware selection decisions
  • Optimisation of the models must be possible within project timescales
  • Models should be adaptable for re-use with other vehicle simulations and technologies

The toolchain that has been developed can be operated and optimised on any drive-cycle and captures complex interactions between several sub-models. It is estimated that hybrid technology demonstrator projects could be reduced in duration and cost by 15% by reducing physical testing and calibration time.

The models built during the project incorporate a 1-D thermal model and a transient air path model through the Ricardo IMBD (Integrated Model Based Development) approach, allowing thermal management and engine calibration to be optimised at a system level.

The new toolchain is now a part of Ricardo IMBD, which forms part of Ricardo’s Virtual Product Development offering. It can be used to reduce product development time and cost through system level optimisation. A toolchain demonstrator is now available to demonstrate the capabilities of the toolchain to customers.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 724037