Ford Motor Company has investigated a series hybrid electric vehicle (SHEV) configuration to move further toward powertrain electrification. This paper first provides a brief overview of the Vehicle System Controls (VSC) architecture and its development process. The paper then presents the energy management strategies that select operating modes and desired powertrain operating points to improve fuel efficiency. The focus will be on the controls design and optimization in a Model-in-the-Loop environment and in the vehicle. Various methods to improve powertrain operation efficiency will also be presented, followed by simulation results and vehicle test data. Finally, opportunities for further improvements are summarized.