Cranfield’s Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre is inviting applications to study for a PhD in battery modelling and management for electric vehicles. Several projects are on offer, covering electrical and thermal modelling, parameter/state estimation, diagnostics/prognostics and system control.

It is difficult to be unaware of the efforts going into the development of low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels. In most sectors, battery power is at least part of the replacement. In the automotive sector, many countries are phasing out internal combustion engines entirely in favour of battery electric vehicles. Battery modelling and management is key enabling technology for this.

We are seeking applicants for PhD research who are interested in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Fast parameter fitting for reduced order electrochemical models.
  2. Early detection of thermal anomalies in battery packs.
  3. Physics-based models and state of health estimation in lithium-sulfur batteries. 
  4. Collecting data and learning from in-service vehicle fleets and predicting remaining useful life. 
  5. Applications of artificial intelligence and computer science to battery state estimation. 
  6. Reduced-authority control of hybrid (multi-chemistry) battery systems.
  7. Certification pathways for airworthy battery systems.

Cranfield University’s Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre is a busy and highly active centre offering several automotive and motorsport courses at master’s level, and engaging in academic research and commercial consultancy. Interests are wide-ranging from mechanics and materials through to computer vision and self-driving cars. This PhD research will be supervised by Dr Daniel J. Auger and Dr Abbas Fotouhi. The centre has a strong track record in battery systems research; members have pioneered state estimation for battery management systems for lightweight lithium-sulfur batteries and have specialist expertise in modelling, control and estimation theory, system identification and computer science. The centre has a dedicated experimental lab with several hardware-in-the-loop systems together with a specialist facility for conducting tests that require special safety management. The centre has close links with commercial organisations, and will seek to involve PhD researchers in these wherever there is a natural synergy.

Each of the proposed research areas has immediate relevance to real-world industrial problems. In most cases, a PhD project will result in publications in scientific journals, the development of re-usable tools, or the creation of application-ready embedded software. Subject to paper acceptance, candidates will also have the opportunity to present their work at national and international conferences with an opportunity for academic and business networking.

The student will gain valuable skills in battery modelling state estimation, both in terms of the project specialism and in a wider understanding of electric vehicles. This opens up opportunities in industry and academia alike - previous graduates have gone on to both. There may also be opportunities to support master’s-level teaching through laboratory demonstration, lecturing and support to group and individual project work.

At a glance

  • Application deadline22 May 2024
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityUK, Rest of world, EU
  • Reference numberSATM383

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit people with previous knowledge and experience of control theory, state estimation or signal processing.

Essential knowledge/experience, consistent with that expected of a UK honours degree graduate:

  1. Dynamic systems – including Laplace transforms and state-space models.
  2. Mathematics of basic circuit modelling.
  3. Modelling/programming in MATLAB and Simulink.
  4. Practical laboratory skills.
  5. Technical writing.
  6. Good verbal communication.

Helpful, depending on project: 

  1. Basic electrochemistry.
  2. Object-oriented programming.
  3. Python.


This is a self-funded opportunity, and candidates will be expected to identify their own sources of funding. Please see our Fees and Sources of Funding page for useful information.  This opportunity is open to UK and international students.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact:

Name: Dr Daniel Auger

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.

This vacancy may be filled before the closing date so early application is strongly encouraged.

Please ensure that your fully completed online application form is submitted by the application closing date. All requested documentation should be uploaded to the online form before submission. Note, your application will not be considered unless all relevant documents have been uploaded. For more information please visit - Applying for a research degree.