tesla roadster
The Tesla Roadster contains a control algorithm designed by Prof. Heath Hofmann.

Career Training: Electric Vehicle Engineering   

The automotive industry is turning to hybrid and electric vehicles, and is actively hiring engineers trained in this area. Of particular importance to these electric vehicles is the power control system. An increasing number of plug-in electric vehicles also means an increasing load on the electric grid. The Department offers a variety of courses that train our students for a successful career in the area of electric and hybrid cars, as well as related fields in power and energy.

EECS418EECS 418: Power Electronics

Instructor: Heath Hofmann

This course covers the use of electronics in energy conversion, with power levels from the microwatt level to thousands of megawatts. The goal of this course is to provide the necessary knowledge base required to design working power electronic systems: AC-DC and DC-DC conversion; power semiconductor devices, inductors, and capacitors; gate- and base-drive circuits; “snubber” circuits; and thermal analysis.

EECS419EECS 419: Electric Machinery and Drives

Instructor: Heath Hofmann

In the struggle to address today's energy and environmental challenges, many potential solutions require electro-mechanical energy conversion. Examples include electric propulsion drives for electric and hybrid electric vehicles, generators for wind turbines, and high-speed motor/alternators for flywheel energy storage systems. This course covers fundamental electromechanical, power electronic, and control theory in the context of electric drive systems. The capabilities and limitations of different types of electric machines (e.g., permanent magnet, induction) in various drive applications will also be covered.

EECS461EECS 461: Embedded Control Systems

Instructors: Jim Freudenberg and Jeff Cook

There is a strong need in industry for students who are capable of working in the highly multi-disciplinary area of embedded control software development. The performance metrics of an embedded control system lie in the analog physical world, yet the performance limiting component of the system is often the embedded microprocessor. This course teaches students from diverse backgrounds the fundamentals of the subject as they build a haptic interface, or force feedback system. We use technology relevant to the local automotive industry.

See also: Course Website; MathWorks article about the course; Mathworks Webinar

EECS463EECS 463: Power System Design and Operation

Instructor: Ian Hiskens

The course will establish the basic principles of power system operation and control, under normal conditions and when faults occur. It will develop the models and tools necessary for analysing system behavior, and provide opportunities for using those tools in design processes. Optimal generation dispatch will be developed, and electricity market implementation issues addressed. The impact of renewable generation on power system operation will be considered.

EECS498EECS 498: Grid Integration of Alternative Energy Sources

Instructor: Ian Hiskens

The course will present a variety of alternative energy sources, along with energy processing technologies that are required for power system connection. System integration issues will be addressed, with consideration given to impacts on current power system design philosophies and operating principles. Topics will be covered at a level suited to establishing a broad understanding of the various technologies, and of the associated system implications. NREL's HOMER package will be introduced, and used in the analysis and optimization of alternative energy systems.

Advanced Coursework

For students interested in more advanced coursework, there are many graduate-level (ie, 500 and above) courses available. Please check the online catalog and speak with an undergraduate advisor for more information.

A new 500-level course recently offered in this area follows:

EECS598EECS 598: Infrastructure for Vehicle Electrification

Instructor: Ian Hiskens

This course covers the fundamentals of the physical and cyber infrastructures that will underpin large-scale integration of plug-in electric vehicles. PEV charger technology will be examined, with a view to establishing grid-side characteristics. V2G converter requirements will be considered. The physical power system infrastructure will be presented, beginning with an overview of power system structure and operations, through distribution system design, to consumer installations. Quality-of-supply issues and protection requirements will be addressed. The information infrastructure and regulatory framework required to support various business models for flexible PEV charging and V2G applications will be presented. Control strategies that are appropriate for large-scale PEV integration will be considered. Upon completion of the course, students should have a comprehensive knowledge of the structure, capabilities and limitations of the physical and cyber infrastructures required to support PEVs.

Additional Info

NEW Course and Student Team for Electric Car Design and Racing

Formula Hybrid Racing

Faculty Instructor and Advisor: Prof. Heath Hoffman

A new Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) course especially relevant for students involved in the newly-created Formula Hybrid Racing team will be taught Fall 2011. Details coming soon.

formula hybrid competition

Formula Hybrid Competition Video

“Formula Hybrid challenges college and university students to design, build, and race high-performance, plug-in hybrid vehicles.

With technological challenges for students with backgrounds in electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering, Formula Hybrid encourages interdisciplinary teamwork and innovation.”

The contest is sponsored by IEEE and SAE.

In the News

new york times article

The future looks electric: Carmakers scramble to hire engineers
Detroit Free Press

new york times article

Computer Code an Increasingly Precious E.V. [Electric Vehicle] Commodity
New York Times