In this paper, we propose a novel control architecture for dealing with the requirements arising in a cooling system of an ICE. The idea is to take advantage of the joint action of an electric pump and of an ad-hoc regulation module, which is used to determine adequate flow rates despite engine speeds. Specifically, a robust Model Predictive Control approach is exploited to take care formally of input/output constraints and disturbance effects of the resulting lumped parameter model of the engine cooling system, which incorporates the nucleate boiling heat transfer regime. Numerical simulations and test rig experimental data are presented. The results achieved show that the proposed control scheme is capable of providing effective and safe cooling while mitigating disturbance effects and minimizing coolant flow rates when compared with the action pertaining to standard crankshaft driven pumps.