Thermal Controls Development Engineer

Phoenix, Arizona


Nikola Motor Company is seeking a Thermal Controls Development Engineer that will be responsible developing the internal and external development, implementation, optimization, and testing of thermal control algorithms. You will work closely with Nikola's powertrain controls engineers, as well as manage deliverables from tier 1 hardware and software teams to provide production ready vehicle control systems for Nikola’s Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle thermal management systems.  You will also support the calibration and testing of the systems to meet vehicle requirements. Must be able to demonstrate the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.


  • Develop, execute, validate, and maintain simulation models of thermal systems architecture including but not limited to powertrain cooling, thermal, controls, and battery system
  • Utilizing vehicle simulation tools including non-real time, hardware in the loop (HIL) simulation and software in the loop simulation (SIL)
  • Define functions for thermal control software
  • Assist in fixing the more involved control problems
  • Develop electric vehicle control strategies (torque demand interface, stability, cooling, HVAC)
  • Support vehicle ECUs architecture and communication
  • Perform diagnostic detections and management system
  • Utilizing J1939 monitoring tools and commercial vehicles, CAN, LIN Communication Protocols and tools such as Vector CANalyzer, CANoe
  • Work with vehicle engineering, systems engineers, hardware engineers to define and maintain requirements for thermal controls.


  • Bachelor’s degree (Masters preferred) in Mechanical Engineering
  • Years of experience 5+ control algorithm development
  • Years of experience 3+ automotive industry
  • Strong knowledge in MATLAB/Simulink
  • Develop diagnostic strategies for electronic systems used in commercial vehicles
  • Develop requirements, test plans, FMEA, fault tree analysis system interaction diagrams
  • Knowledge of classical control theory, optimal controls, adaptive controls, MPC, ECMS, and state-space modeling
  • Experience in developing vehicle and powertrain control algorithms
  • Experience with embedded control of refrigerant systems. (i.e. Compressors, EXVs, Evaporators)
  • Experience with embedded control of fluid-fluid and fluid-air cooling system components. (i.e. Fans, Pumps, Valves)
  • Strong background in 1-D modeling and simulation of thermal systems (no CFD)
  • Strong background in model-based System Design in MATLAB/Simulink environment
  • Solid understanding of system/component design/development processes
  • Familiar with git version control
  • Familiarity with tools such as Vector CANalyzer, CANoe, CANape
  • Familiarity with SimScape
  • Common understanding of ISO 26262
  • Proficiency with CAN, LIN Communication Protocols
Candidates must have current U.S. work authorization or be TN eligible from Mexico or Canada. This position is not eligible for CPT or OPT.


Equal Employment Opportunity statement (EEO)

Nikola Motor Company™ is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote without regard to race, color, age, sex, ancestry, marital status, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information or any other classification protected by state or federal law.

To all recruitment agencies: Nikola is not responsible for any fee related to unsolicited resumes from 3rd party staffing and recruiting agencies. No fee will be paid for candidates who apply and claim to be represented by an agency. Any unsolicited resumes, CVs, or other candidate information submitted by an agency will become the property of Nikola, and no fee will be paid in the event such candidate is hired.