Groundbreaking in Auburn Hills ushers in construction of massive EV battery testing facility ⋆ Michigan Advance
HomeHome > News > Groundbreaking in Auburn Hills ushers in construction of massive EV battery testing facility ⋆ Michigan Advance

Groundbreaking in Auburn Hills ushers in construction of massive EV battery testing facility ⋆ Michigan Advance

May 14, 2023

Elected officials and UL Solutions officials gather for a June 5, 2023 groundbreaking on an electric vehicle battery lab in Auburn Hills. | Whitmer office photo

UL Solutions, a global safety science company, officially began construction Monday on its North America Advanced Battery Laboratory in Auburn Hills.

In addition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, other federal, state and local government officials present for the groundbreaking included U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Waterford Twp.), Oakland County Executive David Coulter, Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin Messer, Jr., and Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel.

Whitmer said the company's investment in Michigan stood as proof that her administration's efforts to grow the state's economy were paying off.

"UL Solutions’ North America Advanced Battery Laboratory will test electric vehicle batteries being built right here in Michigan so that we can safely put those batteries in Michigan-made cars and trucks and get them into garages and driveways around the world," she said. "Michigan won this investment over several other states because of our strong workforce and our leading battery and automotive manufacturers. When we invest in our people, grow economic opportunity, and equip ourselves with the right economic development tools, we win transformational projects like this one."

Company officials said by being located near the center of the U.S. automotive industry, the North America Advanced Battery Laboratory will help enable electric vehicle and industrial battery original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers by providing shorter development cycles and a faster time-to-market, which in turn will allow them to be more competitive in the global marketplace.

UL Solutions plans to open the facility in mid-2024. When completed, the company says it will be one of North America's most extensive battery testing and engineering laboratories.

"We are thrilled to be part of this region's innovation ecosystem, where we will sit side-by-side with the world's top OEMs, electric vehicle and industrial battery product manufacturers, and high-tech companies focusing on the future of mobility and electrification," said Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of UL Solutions. "The development of our Auburn Hills laboratory demonstrates UL Solutions’ commitment to operating at the forefront of the industry and applying our safety science expertise to enable technological innovation and speed to market."

The new laboratory is expected to house dedicated UL Solutions experts and equipment capable of providing thermal fire propagation, electrical, mechanical abuse and environmental testing based on various UL and International Electrotechnical Commission standards, United Nations goals and initiatives, and Society of Automotive Engineers and OEM specifications.

Monday's groundbreaking in Auburn Hills followed two other events Monday attended by Whitmer. The first was an announcement by GM that it would invest more than $1 billion in the Flint Assembly plant and Flint Metal Center. The second was a groundbreaking to redevelop the massive former General Motors Buick City manufacturing campus, also in Flint.

by Jon King, Michigan Advance June 7, 2023

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Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.