Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle

Funded Period: Dec17 - Dec18

The Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle (VCHV) project is a 3-year joint research study program between DETC and 6 top UK universities (Bath, Loughborough, Warwick, Newcastle, Nottingham and UCL).

It aims to demonstrate the feasibility of real-time virtual powertrain testing using distributed hardware in the loop (HiL). The objective is to have 8 PhD engineers develop 6 different hybrid powertrain sub-systems which will be distributed around the UK but tested together in real time.

Time and cost savings

The project addresses the challenges around the physical testing and validation of Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) powertrain systems. It aims to reduce the amount of time-consuming physical testing needed, and limit the cost of shipping and assembling the separate prototype components.

This will be achieved by testing the complete system in one location with eight PhD engineers spread across the project partner institutions to develop six different hybrid powertrain subsystems. These will be tested together in real-time while physically remaining distributed on independent test rigs at their host universities.

Industry implications

The implications for industry are highly valuable and exciting. Virtual testing is currently estimated to account for only five per cent of total powertrain testing, mostly at an early stage. The ability to combine the facilities and expertise hosted at a range of university centres of excellence through distributed testing is expected to shorten the timescales of OEMs in developing new products by up to 12 months, accelerating the time it takes to transfer fundamental research into industry.

The eight PhD engineers will be distributed across the country with:

- 2 PhDs from Bath working on the Internal Combustion Engine;

- 2 PhDs from Loughborough working on Hybrid Controls and Communications;

- 1 PhD from Newcastle working on Electric Motors;

- 1 PhD from Nottingham working on Power Electronics;

- 1 PhD from UCL working on Electrical Energy Storage – Fuel Cells;

- 1 PhD from Warwick working on Electrical Energy Storage – Batteries.

Funding Program


Funded Value


Funded Period:

Dec17 - Dec18