Japanese legacy automaker Toyota, through its North American arm, announced Thursday plans to build a new $50 million battery laboratory at its existing R&D headquarters in York Township, Michigan. The planned facility will test electric and hybrid vehicle batteries on the continent, the press release noted.
Toyota aims to leverage its planned laboratory to ensure that all its batteries qualify for the North American customer requirements.
The battery lab will test Toyota’s EV and HEV batteries’ performance, quality, and durability.
As for the schedule, Toyota expects the battery lab to begin operation as early as 2025.
Toyota Motor North America executive commented on the project, also indicating that the company’s existing Kentucky plant will soon produce the new all-electric SUV, which the battery lab will surely test.
“This new investment in our North American R&D operation, which has been a key pillar of the Michigan automotive industry for more than 50 years, shows Toyota’s directional shift towards electrification for all.
By adding these critical evaluation capabilities around automotive batteries, our team is positioned to better serve the needs of our customers, including Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the latter of which will soon be assembling the recently announced all-new, three-row, battery-electric SUV.”
Shinichi Yasui, R&D Executive VP at Toyota Motor North America (TMNA)
Toyota also announced plans to collaborate with other North American suppliers to guarantee domestically-sourced battery components and materials. It will aid the company’s wider efforts in cutting its carbon footprint. Most notably, it will ensure the company’s eligibility for the US tax credits, which mandate stringent battery requirements.
Apart from developing and evaluating batteries, Toyota also plans to test infrastructure and power sources connectivity, as well as Level 2 and Level 3 charging.
Additionally, the chassis dynamometers at the Toyota R&D facilities in York Township and Ann Arbor are currently undergoing renovation to support full BEV assessments.
“With increasing production for electrification coming to North America, it’s important to have local supporting infrastructure, but more importantly it enables us to invest in team members and technology development. This new facility also enables us to experiment and pursue new opportunities as technology and business needs advance.”
Jordan Choby, group VP of Powertrain at TMNA R&D
In addition, Toyota’s lab engineers will also study new battery setups for the company’s next-gen EVs, which may also lead to new EV architectures.
The press release also noted that the new battery lab will be under the company’s DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program enrollment, enabling all of its Michigan-based R&D facilities to attribute all of their electricity needs to renewable energy sources by 2026.
“Today’s investment by Toyota demonstrates Michigan’s leadership in pioneering the future of mobility.
The $50 million investment in a new laboratory facility to evaluate electric vehicle batteries will create high-skilled, good-paying jobs in Saline and support efforts to help electric vehicles run longer and go farther than ever before. Last week, I announced the Make It In Michigan plan, a strategy to compete for projects, invest in people, and revitalize places. Let’s continue working to grow Michigan’s economy, bring supply chains home, and lead the future of batteries and electric vehicles.”
- Toyota’s new CEO promises to accelerate the company’s EV strategy shift
- Toyota plans to develop EV-only platform, CEO replaced by Lexus chief
- Toyota commits an additional $2.1B investment to its battery plant expansion in the US
- Toyota global car sales grew almost 5% YoY in April on stronger demand
- Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain secures CARB approval
Toyota appears to be more committed to its electrification efforts with its new CEO after falling behind its rivals in the industry.
“Now that the time is right, we will accelerate BEV development with a new approach.”
Toyota CEO Koji Sato said in April
Indeed, the Japanese automaker is starting to change its approach with plans to launch ten new BEVs by 2026 and hit 1.5 million EV sales annually.