Prof. Heath Hofmann named IEEE Fellow for his impact in the areas of electric machinery and drive systems

Hofmann’s control technology has been implemented in commercial vehicles, and he works tirelessly to enhance opportunities for underrepresented students.
Heath Hofmann

Prof. Heath Hofmann has been elevated to IEEE Fellow, class of 2022, “For contributions to electric machinery and drive systems.”

Hofmann’s control technology was implemented in the original Tesla Roadster, an all-electric vehicle, and in a control algorithm used by the company Pentadyne (now PowerThru).

His research focuses on the area of power electronic and electromechanical systems. Specific research interests include adaptive parameter estimation for electric machines and electrochemical batteries, high-performance magnet-free machine designs, and computationally-efficient modelling techniques.

Hofmann is an acknowledged expert in electric vehicle propulsion, and has been quoted on the topic in articles in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He co-invented the concept of Simultaneous Identification and Control (SIC) techniques for electric machines, and has developed robust torque control techniques for permanent magnet, synchronous reluctance, and induction machines. 

He has also developed high-speed machine designs and controls for flywheel energy storage systems. Flywheels are an environmentally-friendly replacement for electrochemical batteries. His collaboration with the company Pentadyne resulted in a high-performance flywheel capable of providing 190kW for up to 10 seconds.

Hofmann continues to maintain close ties with industry, and his research has led to 18 U.S. patents. His technology has also been licensed.

Hofmann regularly teaches courses in power electronics and energy conversion, and has developed the graduate and senior level courses, Power Electronics and Electric Machinery and Drives. He has also taught specialized graduate courses in Advanced Drives and Electromechanics. He has advised or co-advised 19 doctoral students, and advised 15 master’s students. 

He is writing a textbook, tentatively titled Electric Machinery and Drives.

Hofmann is a strong advocate for students, and has served as Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs since 2018. One of his primary goals has been increasing opportunities for underrepresented minority students. To this end, he was a key organizer of a meeting to explore cross-collaboration opportunities between the University of Michigan and the HBCU institutions Morehouse College and Prairie View A&M.

Hofmann with Ethiopian students
Prof. Heath Hofmann, right, and doctoral student Abdi Zeynu, center, work with a student in the newly equipped lab in Ethiopia.

He developed and taught the week-long Power Up tech camp open to high school students as part of ECE’s Electrify Tech Camp. And he worked with 35 students in Ethiopia as part of the Ethiopia-Michigan Platform for Advancing Collaborative Engagement (EM-PACE) initiative [read more]. He also served as the inaugural faculty advisor for Michigan Hybrid Racing and Michigan Electric Racing, and is now a co-advisor for the all-electric MRacing team.

He received the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Engineering (COE), and the COE Staff‐Faculty Partnership Award for his collaborative approach to working staff. Hofmann also was a member of a team recognized by the COE with the Ted Kennedy Family Faculty Team Excellence Award for his work with the U-M Automotive Research Center. His research targeted vehicle electrification, development of low noise auxiliary power units, and high performance lightweight Army technology.

Hofmann received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1998. After serving as Associate Professor at Pennsylvania State University, he joined the University of Michigan in 2010. 

Electronics, Devices, Computers; Heath Hofmann; Honors and Awards; Research News