Jaguar Land Rover


When Jaguar Land Rover heard that a leading South African specialist vehicle constructor, Barker Performance, had identified a market for an eco-friendly electric variant of the Defender chassis, they decided on a fast-track collaboration to create a demonstration vehicle in time for South Africa’s premier tourism tradeshow.

Dana with its OpenECU rapid controls prototyping tool suite and experience in electric vehicle control was selected to join the development team. There were less than six months available to create a fully functional vehicle for taking tourists on game viewing trips in South Africa’s excellent reserves.


The flexibility of OpenECU embedded control system and the extensive experience of Dana’s systems engineers made the ideal choice for developing the electric vehicle control electronics.

Minimal formal requirements were available so Dana engineers worked closely with the customer and other system suppliers to innovate a solution that would integrate the battery, inverter, motor drive and other vehicle systems into a single system. Dana’s OpenECU controller performed the role of the electric driveline supervisory controller

The electric vehicle control strategies were developed in MATLAB®/Simulink® and deployed on an OpenECU M250 ECU. The functionality included the startup and shutdown sequencing, integration of all driver controls, calculation of torque set point, management of limp home functions and revised cluster functionality. The prototype wiring harness was also specified and supplied. This enabled on site integration testing to be completed at the battery module supplier, Axeon, within just four weeks of project commencement.

Dana engineers were then engaged to work with a Jaguar Land Rover engineering team for three weeks at a proving ground in South Africa to support vehicle installation and debugging.

Results and Impact

Jaguar Land Rover had a fully functioning vehicle three months from project commencement. Because of Dana’s quick turn-around, Barker Performance was able to have the vehicle for body customization well before the target tradeshow.

Dana had all the necessary technology in reusable form and the capability to adapt and innovate within an unusually rapid development process environment.

Project Features

OpenECU M250 for rapid electric vehicle control ECU development
Simulink model based control strategies for electric vehicle drive system control
On-site vehicle development and debug engineering services
Prototype wiring harness specification and supply