December 8, 2021

German supplier plans $44 million EV battery testing plant in Auburn Hills | by KURT NAGL

German automotive supplier TÜV SÜD is planning to invest $44.1 million and create 40 jobs for an electric vehicle battery testing plant in Auburn Hills.

The company said it will use the new 79,000-square-foot facility to independently test, develop and validate batteries for OEM and tier one customers, according to a Thursday news release from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The project is the result of TÜV SÜD capitalizing on the battery boom in Southeast Michigan and growing out of its current Auburn Hills site at 1755 Atlantic Blvd., off Giddings Road, north of I-75. It also has a presence in Plymouth. The company’s North American base is in Wakefield, Mass., and it has operated in Michigan since 2007.

The 40 new jobs will be mostly engineering positions that earn “significantly more” than Oakland County’s average wage of $22.57 per hour plus benefits, according to the MEDC.

Crain’s inquired with the company for more details on job pay and construction.

“TÜV SÜD is excited about the investment in expanding our capabilities and capacity in serving the automotive sector’s need for world-class, independent third-party product testing and homologation needs,” Jonathan Drew, the company’s head of transportation testing in North America, said in the release.

The project is being supported by a $240,000 business development grant from the state, a State Education Tax abatement valued at $837,000 over 12 years, and a 50 percent property tax abatement from the city of Auburn Hills, according to a briefing memo from the MEDC.

The grant and tax abatements were necessary to steer TÜV SÜD away from a competing site in Indiana, which also offered incentives and a vacant site with electrical infrastructure, the MEDC said. The company must invest around $1.5 million to build out electrical infrastructure for its new plant in Auburn Hills.

“This project aligns with the MEDC’s strategic focus area of supporting a business in the target industry of mobility and builds on the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification,” the briefing memo said.

Officials said the new battery plant will help the state in its pursuit to attract EV investment and become a center for an electrified automotive industry.

“This new facility will build on our reputation as a leader in the future of mobility and electrification. With the help of companies like TÜV SÜD, we can build back our state’s economy stronger than ever,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in the release.