Reduction of cold start hydrocarbon (HC) emissions requires a proper compromise between low engine-out HC emission and fast light-off of the three way catalytic converter (TWC). In this paper, a hybrid switching system is designed and optimized for reducing HC emissions of a mid-sized passenger car during the cold start phase of FTP-75 (Federal Test Procedure). This hybrid system has the benefit of increasing TWC temperature during the early stages of the driving cycle by switching between different operational modes. The switching times are optimized to reduce the cumulative tailpipe HC of an experimentally validated automotive emission model. The designed hybrid system is tested in real-time on a real engine control unit (ECU) in a model-in-the-loop structure. The results indicate the new hybrid controller reduces the HC emissions over 6.5% compared to nonswitching cold start controller designs.