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General Motors Developed Two-Mode Hybrid Powertrain With MathWorks Model-Based Design; Cut 24 Months Off Expected Dev Time

General Motors developed its Two-Mode Hybrid powertrain control system using Model-Based Design software from The Mathworks. Using math and simulation-based tools, GM designed the powertrain prototype within 9 months, shaving 24 months off the expected development time. The complex control system is currently in production in the GMC Sierra Hybrid, GMC Yukon Hybrid, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Chevy Silverado Hybrid, and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid vehicles.

Created to optimize fuel efficiency in both city and highway driving, the Two-Mode Hybrid powertrain combines a conventional engine with two 60-kW electric motors integrated into an automatic transmission, and it integrates with new components such as battery and power electronics.

By adopting Model-Based Design, where the development process centers around a system model, GM engineers increased time savings. Also, by verifying the control system before hardware prototyping and by using production code generated from the controller models, GM has rolled out production vehicles featuring the hybrid powertrain within four years of starting the control system design process. The ability to reuse design information has helped the global development teams foster more efficient communication and reduced response time, eliminating integration issues.

Model-Based Design helps us work at a higher level of abstraction, allowing us to verify designs early. This ability to simulate and correct systems before committing to hardware allows us to try new control strategies virtually, while the use of production code generation accelerates design iterations and eliminates translation errors common in hand coding.

—Larry Nitz, GM executive director of hybrid and electric powertrains

GM is also using Model-Based Design for the powertrain control development of its upcoming plug-in hybrid and advanced engines and transmissions.

GM used MATLAB, Simulink, and Stateflow to design the control system architecture and model all the control and diagnostic functions. Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder provided the capability to generate production code from the models, and Real-Time Workshop and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulators helped verify the control system.

Earlier in October, The Mathworks announced that Dongfeng Electric Vehicle (DFEV), a research and development arm of Chinese automotive maker Dongfeng Motor Company, developed a battery management system within 18 months using MathWorks tools for Model-Based Design. (Earlier post.)


Alex Kovnat

As a long-time MATLAB/SIMULINK user, I'm always amazed at what this great information processing software system can do.

Lately in my latest academic pursuit (Mechatronics), I've been learning to use a new software system - LabVIEW. I suppose GM is using that too.


There are lots of good CAD/CAM and simulation/testing platforms out there. I can remember when electronic schematic capture workstations cost $50,000 each, then came the PC software for $500 and that changed everything.

Will S

Too bad this is being wasted on overbloated dinosaurs...


Way too complicated. Simplify everything by going EV with range extender ICE.

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