Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) said it would spend US$50m to build a new laboratory facility at its North American R&D headquarters in York Township, Michigan, to evaluate batteries for electric and electrified vehicles.

The new Michigan lab would ensure Toyota batteries meet North American customer requirements by ensuring performance, quality and durability of automotive batteries made by the automaker itself. Operations at the new lab should begin in 2025.

“This new investment in our North American R&D operation…. shows Toyota’s directional shift towards electrification for all,” said Shinichi Yasui, EVP of TMNA R&D.

“By adding these critical evaluation capabilities around automotive batteries, our team is positioned to better serve the needs of our customers, including [the TMNA battery and car assembly plants in North Carolina and Kentucky], the latter of which will soon be assembling the recently announced three row, battery electric SUV”.

The lab would also work with other North American 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.

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Chassis dynamometers at both Toyota R&D campuses in York Township and Ann Arbor are also being upgraded to accommodate full battery electric vehicle evaluations.

Jordan Choby, group VP of powertrain, added: “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 and their research may also contribute to development of new electrified vehicle architectures.

“Toyota will explore further expansion of the lab’s capabilities and opportunities for supporting the needs of the battery and BEV ecosystem,” the automaker added.

The new facility will be included in Toyota’s voluntary enrollment in DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower programme which enables all of the automaker’s R&D operations in Michigan to attribute 100% of electricity use to renewable energy projects starting in 2026.

Over the last two years, Toyota has committed $8bn to its US manufacturing operations primarily to support product electrification.

Worldwide, its plans to invest $70bn in electrification by 2030.