This paper explores how using virtual prototypes to model microcontrollers and electronic control units provide multiple benefits across the automotive supply chain. These include but are not limited to, the ability to develop software before hardware is available, the ability to integrate and test software stacks sooner and the ability to more thoroughly test functional safety aspects. Where time-to-market is the main driver for mobile applications, within the automotive industry the use of virtual prototypes aims mostly at improving quality and reducing safety risks, all while keeping the cost of software development and testing at bay.