Powertrain and Electric Vehicles: An Introduction for Mechanical and Electrical Engineers - Part 3

This is the third part of a three-part series about power train controls in EV's and hev's. You can read the first part - here, and the second part - here

Basics of Powertrain controls

Physical Systems Modeling

Unless you learn to appreciate the technical terms and practicality of the subject, it is not possible to relish engineering for what it is. Regardless of the industry, knowing the physics behind the controls and learning how to model them mathematically and analogically is crucial. 

The single most important tool that you have to understand when dealing with electric powertrain controls is MATLAB Simulink, which is the language of technical mathematical computing. 

For example, if you have an airflow system, you should be able to model and make physics-based equations of all the dynamics, valves, and mechanisms using tools like MATLAB Simulink.   

Classic Control Theory

The classic control theory helps you apply the principles of physics, math, and other observable physical phenomena into your control systems. You should be able to apply all of this in the industry based on the theoretical aspect. Within the industry, you would not talk in terms of controllability or observability, but feedback accuracy and sensor reliability.  

You will also need to understand about Proportional, Integral, and Derivative (PID) control. You will see a slew of examples of the different algorithms used in the automotive industry.  

Mathematics behind the Controls

Finally, we will look at the mathematics behind everything that has been mentioned above. You would brush up on Laplace transformation functions, partial derivatives, partial differentiation, partial fractions, partial differential equations, and many other concepts of calculus.

Next Phase 

  • PT controls the life cycle
  • Systems, controls, software engineering
  • Engine controls – Air/fuel
  • Torque and combustion controls
  • Thermal and combustion controls
  • Onboard diagnostics and regulations

This phase is where we delve deeper into the automotive industry. Here you will gain a broad knowledge of calibration systems, control engineering, software engineering, and how all the components of an automobile interact and communicate with each other.  

To get a clearer picture, you will need to understand some of the typical problems that an engineer will deal with in the automobile industry. This will help you look at things from the perspective of a person who is working in the automotive sector. 

The essence of this is to teach you to solve real-world automobile engineering problems using engineering because engineering is just common knowledge that is applied in the physical world, along with physics and mathematics, to produce quantifiable results.  

We will also discuss in detail about air systems, how they are modelled, how to write equations for air and fuel systems so that, ultimately, the right magnitude of torque is delivered. This includes: 

  • Torque arbitrations and the factors or variables that influence it
  • Combustion controls, their mechanisms, and more
  • How to manage the heat and temperature to stay within the threshold limits
  • Cooling system controls
  • How to lower emissions and adhere to state regulatory limits of automobile emissions
  • Legislative requirements of OnBoard Diagnostics like OBD-1 and OBD-2 regulations, which are used to denote emission controls across OEMs

You will also need to learn the terminologies to converse and communicate without errors in an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) company like BMW, Mahindra & Mahindra, General Electric, and more. 

Moving on to Electrified Propulsion 

Architecture/Controls for Electrified Powertrains

Soon after gaining knowledge on the importance of electrified powertrains, you will need to understand architecture and controls to help you know and do your control engineering tasks. 

You will know to deal with start/stop mechanisms, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, power-split hybrids, mild hybrids, Integrated Starter Generator (ISG), Belt Starter Generator (BSG) and more.  

Physical System Modeling

Next comes physical system modelling, which goes hand in hand with the system architecture and controls. Hence, once you know the architecture, physical system modelling becomes easier. From here, you can proceed to apply the classic controls theory for each of them.  

Power-Split EVs, Regenerative Braking, and Battery Electric Vehicle

You will also look at the concepts of regenerative braking, charge depletion modes, and more. Then you will move onto look at battery electric vehicles that complete the transition from hybrid vehicles.  

Verification and Validation

The next crucial aspect you will look at is the verification and validation of these systems. As a matter of fact, most entry-level jobs in the automotive industry are predominantly on verification and validation. 

This concludes the testing phase, which gives insight into producibility, reliability, and manufacturability. Plant modelling helps further in the testing process by mimicking the actual driver.  

Trends and New Technologies

Finally, we will look at the trends and new technologies that are emerging in the automotive sector. You will also be made aware of the terms and jargons to stay relevant in the industry. For example, Co-simulation, in which different modelling software works in tandem with each other. GT-Power, the popular software that is used for modelling will be used along with MATLAB Simulink.  


That concludes an overview of what you can expect in the electric powertrain controls course. This course is designed to stay oriented to the real-world automotive industry rather than emulate a textbook.  

You will also have a hands-on session of MATLAB Simulink in between the course. 

Check out Skill-Link's flagship course - the Post-Graduate Certification in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Design and Analysis. Students who enrol in this program will study in state-of-the-art purpose-built study centres-the skill centres, which are currently operational in Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. Students will have access to individual workstations where they will work on industry-standard projects; students will also have access to workshops conducted by industry leaders and will have a chance to be mentored by them.    

Take a virtual tour of the Skill-Lync Center here - Skill centre video




Get a 1-on-1 demo to understand what is included in Skill-Lync's Post-Graduate certification in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Design and Analysis and how it can benefit you from an experienced career consultant.

Request a Demo Session

These courses will launch your career in mechanical engineering

See all


See all

© 2022 Skill-Lync Inc. All Rights Reserved.