This paper gives an overview of the system architecture and software design challenges for Electric Vehicles (EVs). First, we introduce the EV-specific components and their control, considering the battery, electric motor, and electric powertrain. Moreover, technologies that will help to advance safety and energy efficiency of EVs such as drive-by-wire and information systems are discussed. Regarding the system architecture, we present challenges in the domain of communication and computation platforms. A paradigm shift towards time-triggered in-vehicle communication systems becomes inevitable for the sake of determinism, making the introduction of new bus systems and protocols necessary. At the same time, novel computational devices promise high processing power at low cost which will make a reduction in the number of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) possible. As a result, the software design has to be performed in a holistic manner, considering the controlled component while transparently abstracting the underlying hardware architecture. For this purpose, we show how middleware and verification techniques can help to reduce the design and test complexity. At the same time, with the growing connectivity of EVs, security has to become a major design objective, considering possible threats and a security-aware design as discussed in this paper. Copyright © 2013 ACM.