UL to build battery testing lab in Auburn Hills

NORTHBROOK, Ill.–The safety testing organization UL Solutions announced that it plans to open a new battery testing laboratory in Auburn Hills in mid-2024.

When completed, the lab will be one of the most extensive battery testing and engineering laboratories in North America. UL Solutions’ expert battery engineers and laboratory staff will test electric vehicle and industrial battery products for compliance with safety and performance requirements for the United States and global markets.

The new laboratory will be located in the Auburn Hills Oakland Technology Park complex, and will house state-of-the-art battery test equipment so that UL Solutions can deliver safety testing and performance services for automotive and industrial original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers. Services will include:

  • testing capabilities at the battery cell, module and full-pack level for thermal propagation
  • fire testing
  • design verification and product validation
  • electrical, mechanical, abuse, and environmental testing based on various UL and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, United Nations (UN) goals and initiatives and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and OEM specifications

“The global surge in electrification, especially in mobility, has elevated the focus on the safety of batteries,” said Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO, UL Solutions. “UL Solutions’ investment in Michigan is the next step in our broader Midwest and global strategy to establish hubs in critical automotive markets that support the EV eco-system in the safe, secure, and sustainable commercialization of related technologies.”

According to the 2022 EY Mobility Consumer Index, consumers’ preference for EV technology continues to grow. The study revealed more than half of those surveyed, 52%, intend to buy a fully electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid vehicle. The U.S. Department of Energy states that electric vehicle battery manufacturing capacity in North America in 2030 is projected to be nearly 20 times greater than in 2021 in order to meet the growing demand. A wave of new EV battery plants will increase capacity from 55 Gigawatt-hours per year (GWh/year) in 2021 to nearly 1,000 GWh/year by 2030. By 2030, production capacity will be able to support roughly 10 to 13 million all-electric vehicles per year. As a way to optimize supply chain logistics, many battery production facilities will be co-located with automotive assembly plants, with Michigan seeing the highest growth.

“Businesses throughout the supply chain are rapidly developing innovative EV battery and mobility solutions and technologies in Michigan,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corp. “As EV technology gets increasingly complex, safety and security will be critical in EV adoption. We applaud UL Solutions and the company’s efforts to help bring these products to market safely while adding to Michigan’s world-class mobility ecosystem. We welcome UL Solutions, and Team Michigan appreciates this vote of confidence in our great state.”

The race for EV adoption has resulted in manufacturers often seeking a knowledgeable and trusted third party to test for compliance with performance and safety requirements. The Auburn Hills laboratory demonstrates UL Solutions’ commitment to operating at the forefront of the industry and applying the company’s safety science expertise to enable technology innovation and speed to market.

“Our customers’ success hinges on the ability to balance innovation and speed-to-market with achieving performance criteria and demonstrating product compliance in dynamic and demanding supply chains,” said Milan Dotlich, vice president and general manager of the Energy and Industrial Automation group at UL Solutions. “At the Auburn Hills laboratory and throughout our global network of testing facilities, we will help automotive and industrial battery manufacturers and their suppliers solve these critical challenges. Our services contribute to shorter development cycles and a faster time-to-market, which are critical to competitive positioning in the global marketplace.”

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