MichAuto > Blog > MichAuto News > Toyota to Build New Automotive Battery Lab at Michigan R&D Headquarters, Launches Driving Possibilities Initiative in Southeast Michigan

Toyota to Build New Automotive Battery Lab at Michigan R&D Headquarters, Launches Driving Possibilities Initiative in Southeast Michigan

June 20, 2023

Toyota to Build New Automotive Battery Lab at Michigan R&D Headquarters

Last week, Toyota announced that it will increase its strong R&D capabilities by building a new automotive battery lab at its North American R&D Headquarters in York Township, MI. This is another example of Michigan maintaining its global superiority in advanced vehicle development and shows the diversity of OEMs that see Michigan as the place in North America to design new technologies to meet the needs of the mobility industry.

As part of its evaluation process, the new Michigan battery lab will ensure that Toyota’s batteries meet North American customer requirements by confirming performance, quality and durability of automotive batteries made by Toyota. 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.

The team will also work with other North American partner suppliers to incorporate locally-produced battery parts and materials in support of Toyota’s multi-pathway approach to reducing carbon emissions through its portfolio of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and battery electric product offerings.

Beyond battery development, other lab activities are expected to include evaluations using Level 2 and Level 3 charging as well as connectivity to power sources and infrastructure. 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.

Toyota, Eastern Michigan University, Lincoln and Ypsilanti Schools Collaborate to Launch Driving Possibilities in Southeast Michigan

Toyota also announced nearly $10M in funding throughout Southeast Michigan over the next five years as part of Toyota’s Driving Possibilities initiative. Lincoln Consolidated and Ypsilanti Community Schools will partner with Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and Toyota on this project, including a newly created STEM Institute and Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) for a transportation study. The community-focused STEM Institute will serve as a hub to deploy STEM resources to and from the school districts and three institutions of higher learning in the area. In addition to EMU, the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Washtenaw Community College will serve as educational and subject matter experts to create new learning opportunities for teachers, students, and families across the community.

“Our goal is to increase awareness of future STEM careers while helping build sustainable programs in the communities where our Toyota team members live and work,” said Tellis Bethel, group vice president of social innovation, Toyota. “It’s exciting to see the expansion of Driving Possibilities near our Michigan R&D facilities, the first location announced out of the 14 additional U.S. sites planned.”

Driving Possibilities is designed to be an equitable collaboration with schools, nonprofits and community to help all student succeed – at school and in the careers of the future. The aim is to close educational gaps for all students through innovative, hands-on STEM programming that leverages unique assets and resources in the equal-partner relationship. Driving Possibilities is also designed to help increase STEM awareness, excitement and interest in a promising career in a STEM-related field while addressing the essential needs of students and families.