There are several challenges involved in the development of a production control system for a hybrid/alternative energy vehicle. Some of the challenges center around the new component technologies such as batteries, power electronics, electric machines or hydraulics that are an integral part of such a vehicle. Others center around the invention that is required to develop novel algorithms that utilize these component technologies in the most synergistic fashion with conventional technologies so as to optimize a cost function of interest (fuel economy for example). While these challenges are noteworthy in their own right, there are additional challenges that need to be overcome to actually bring them to production and to deliver a quality product that meets the OEM requirements for quality and robustness over the lifetime of the vehicle (10 years/150,000 miles for example). These hybrid/alternative energy production vehicles are expected to be exercised in the very same environments (e.g. hot, cold, high altitude, humid) that the consumer has been using conventional vehicles in. This paper describes several processes that enable the development of control systems that can not only “get things working”, but also meet the more rigorous quality and robustness demands imposed upon a production vehicle. While these processes are not limited in their usage to only hybrid/alternative energy vehicles, it is the newness of the technologies in these vehicles, and the need to respond rapidly to the needs of the marketplace that really necessitates the use of such processes on these types of vehicles.

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