We study the dynamic engine-generator optimal control problem with a goal of minimizing fuel consumption while delivering a requested average electrical power. By using an infinite-horizon formulation and explicitly minimizing fuel consumption, we avoid issues inherent with penalty-based and finite-horizon problems. The solution to the optimal control problem, found using dynamic programming and the successive approximation method, can be expressed as instantaneous non-linear state-feedback. This allows for trivial real-time control, typically requiring 10–20 CPU instructions per control period, a few bytes of RAM, and 5–20 KiB of nonvolatile memory. Simulation results for a passenger vehicle indicate a fuel consumption improvement in the region of 5–7% during the transient phase when compared with the class of controllers found in the industry. Bench-tests, where the optimal controller is executed in native hardware, show an improvement of 3.7%, primarily limited by unmodeled dynamics. Our specific choice of problem formulation, a guaranteed globally optimal solution, and trivial real-time control resolve many of the limitations with the current state of optimal engine-generator controllers.

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