Toyota Motor North America will invest nearly $50 million to construct a new laboratory facility at its North American R&D headquarters in York Township, Michigan to evaluate batteries for electric and electrified vehicles in North America, the automaker announced. Operations at the new battery lab are expected to begin in 2025.
“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,” said Shinichi Yasui, executive vice president of Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), Research and Development. “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.”
The team will also work with other North American partner suppliers to incorporate locally-produced battery parts and materials in its portfolio of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and battery electric product offerings, the company said.
Other lab activities are expected to include evaluations using Level 2 and Level 3 charging as well as connectivity to power sources and infrastructure, the manufacturer said. Further, chassis dynamometers at both Toyota R&D campuses in York Township and Ann Arbor are being upgraded to accommodate full battery electric vehicle evaluations.
“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,” said Jordan Choby, group vice president of Powertrain at TMNA R&D. “This new facility also enables us to experiment and pursue new opportunities as technology and business needs advance.”
In addition to working with current battery production, lab engineers will explore new battery configurations for future products, the company said, which may contribute to Toyota’s development of new electrified vehicle architectures.