The conversion efficiency of three way catalytic converters is mainly defined by the emperature range wherein they are operating. Traditionally, ignition retard has been used to reduce the light-off time of the catalyst. This is however associated with a fuel penalty. With increasing vehicle electrification, electrically heating facilities present an alternative, especially for hybrid vehicles. Nevertheless, system complexity of hybrid vehicles prevents engineers to evaluate possible heating technologies and their corresponding fuel penalty with respect to traditional solutions. This paper evaluates the application of an electrically heated catalyst on a hybrid vehicle equipped with a Natural Gas (NG) engine. The effect of heating power on light-off time and fuel penalty is determined, using analysis techniques emerging from integrated powertrain control. By means of a case study, the importance of an integral approach is explained by comparing the fuel penalty and conversion efficiency improvement of electric heating with that of ignition retard. In this process, a mix of simulation and test data were combined, forming the foundations for future control developments of a suitable light-off strategy.