LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan scored a victory over other Midwest states as it secured funding for a new EV testing facility to be constructed in Auburn Hills. 

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On Monday, several Michigan leaders, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer, US Senator Debbie Stabenow, US Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham) attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a future testing site for materials involved in the Electric Vehicle (EV) market. 

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the estimated $72.7 million project skipped past Indiana and Ohio and onto Michigan soil.  

UL Solutions, a division of Underwriters Laboratories, a company well-known for its testing and certification work, plans to build a nearly 90,000 square-foot laboratory on the spot that will serve as a test site for manufacturers to test EV and industrial batteries.

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“Michigan won this investment over several other states because of our strong workforce and our proximity to leading battery and automotive manufacturers,” Whitmer said.

Vice President and General Manager for Energy and Industrial Automation for UL Solutions, Milan Dotlich conveyed that the demand for UL’s battery testing services has grown dramatically according to the Detroit Free Press. 

“While I probably could fill this battery lab with industrial batteries only, we wanted to be near the automotive epicenter of the world, Detroit,” Dotlich said, noting that he hopes to see testing under way at the site by July 2024.

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Dotlich also conveyed that many batteries have not been tested properly, noting that UL has “an unparalleled history of fire testing for batteries.” 

During the ceremony, President and CEO of UL Solutions, Jennifer Scanlon remarked “when this lab opens next year, it will be one of North America’s most extensive testing for batteries as well as most extensive engineering laboratories.” 

According to the MEDC, the project is slated to receive more than $1.5 million in incentives provided it meets certain criteria, and will create about 61 new jobs. 

The announcement of the facility comes as EV battery plant projects in Michigan are going through the approval process from local and state agencies- despite mixed approval from Michiganders- for funding and land rezoning including the proposed Ford Blue Oval EV Battery project in Marshall, Michigan. 

While Marshall City Council members voted to advance the project through rezoning efforts, residents  of Marshall collected more than 800 signatures in protest and are awaiting the city clerk’s certification in the hopes of reversing the city council’s vote.