Future of Transportation
7 min

Future of Transportation: An interview with Jonathan Drew

An interview with the Head of Automotive & Transportation Testing Services, USA, on the opening of TÜV SÜD’s new Environmental Lab for EV battery testing in Auburn Hills.

Date: 13 Jul 2023

The future of transportation:  An interview with Jonathan Drew, Head of Automotive & Transportation Testing Services, USA, on the opening of TÜV SÜD’s new Environmental Lab for EV battery testing in Auburn Hills.

Question: Thank you for agreeing to this interview Jonathan, I know you are busy with TÜV SÜD’s new EV lab in Auburn Hills, Michigan so thank you for taking a break to speak with us on how TÜV SÜD is playing a huge part in the future of transportation. To start, please can you tell us your background and how you got into this business?

Drew, Jonathan  
Yes, we are immensely proud of our new EV battery testing lab in the heart of Detroit. We at TÜV SÜD have been testing EV batteries for over 10 years in North America and we have finally made a permanent home here. It is extremely exciting. I am so proud to be a part of it.

As to my background, I am an engineer by trade. I spent almost 25 years in manufacturing in the Detroit area working for different automotive suppliers, including owning one of those supplier firms. I supplied the transportation industry, the same markets, and companies we deal with now: on-road and off-road vehicles, trucks, agricultural, powersports and military.

In 2015, I moved into the automotive testing world, as it fit my background. I was familiar with the technology and standards. I knew how the industry worked, I understood the customers, and I had many contacts. It was an easy transition.

Question: What are some things that you love about being the Head of Automotive and Transportation Testing Services for TÜV SÜD in the USA?

Drew, Jonathan  
First, it is interesting, in manufacturing it was similar day to day, year after year. In testing, there are hundreds of customers and new products, and it is all leading-edge technology, because that is what TÜV SÜD does! We choose not to do offer testing in all areas; instead, we select specific niches and within those areas we are exceptionally skilled. It is fun to see innovative technology coming down the pike.

Second, I enjoy partnering with customers; working hand in hand to implement testing solutions that meet their needs and planning for what they may need in the future.

And third, I love working with the people within TÜV SÜD. My team working on transportation is superb, plus the support network across the entire company and specifically within global transportation is incredible. The backing for what we are doing in transportation in North America has been instrumental. It is really refreshing to have that type of culture within our group and across the company.


So, how do you see the future of transportation in 10 years? What is coming?

Drew, Jonathan  
Although internal combustion engines will continue to be a part of the market, the future is electric. Lithium-ion batteries will continue to drive the EV industry as hybrid and fully electric vehicles will gain market share in North America. Solid state batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are both coming as well but these are newer technologies and will grow more slowly. The interesting thing is that TÜV SÜD is already working on industry solutions for these newer technologies, so we will be ready for whatever comes.

What are some recent challenges or trends you have seen that may impact the transportation industry?

Drew, Jonathan  
The biggest change is the move from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. Currently EVs represent about 7% of the market and is growing; but some places, like California, have committed to having 35% EV by 2026 and 100% EV by 2035. The rest of the country will follow. All our customers are driving toward that and that includes marine, agricultural, ATV, snowmobiles. It is exciting.

Our biggest challenge is managing the electrification of the industry. Not just from an EV standpoint but also the many systems and their level of autonomy; automatic safety devices, driver assistance modules, radar, LIDAR, navigation, mirrors, headlights. All that in addition to EV systems and batteries. It has been a major shift in the industry and adds a lot of required testing; this is a big part of why TÜV SÜD has been investing in capability and capacity in battery testing, electrical and EMC testing.

So the grand opening of TÜV SÜD’s EV battery testing lab in Auburn Hills, Michigan ties into what you mentioned about supporting new, developing technology, and keeping up with the industry?

Drew, Jonathan  
Oh, 100% correct. The industry is waiting for TÜV SÜD to bring this to the market. And it is the perfect location! There are so many battery OEMs and suppliers doing development in the EV industry in the Michigan area. So having an EV battery lab like this near Detroit is critical. Also, the USMCA trade agreement, infrastructure laws, and incentives are driving battery manufacturing across the United States. The EV industry growth will continue to surge and TÜV SÜD will be here to support that growth; we expect to expand into other US locations in the coming few years. This is just the start!

Wakefield, MA. TÜV SÜD America Inc., a global leader in testing, inspection, and certification services, opens its new state-of-the-art environmental laboratory in Auburn Hills, MI, reaffirming its unwavering commitment to advancing the highest quality and performance standards in EV battery and system solutions. Through rigorous product development and validation processes, TÜV SÜD ensures that EV batteries meet the highest standards of safety, reliability and sustainability in one of the most capable EV battery testing labs in the world.

“The EV industry is a green one, and we are excited to be part of it, but we have high energy use at our own testing facility. So, what have we done about that at TÜV SÜD? Well, all the electricity coming into the new lab is from green sources i.e., wind or solar or hydro. Our site is a 100% green electric facility. It is a big deal in Michigan to be able to do that. The battery testing itself also causes the release of particulates and gases. We have significant environmental scrubbing capacity to capture all of that. And globally TÜV SÜD has made great efforts towards sustainability and stewardship of the environment. Our company has a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. That is important to our customers, both at the OEM and the supplier levels.” Jonathan Drew goes on to explain.

TÜV SÜD is helping to scope the future of transportation and Jonathan Drew talks through the capabilities of the new EV battery testing lab in Auburn Hills: 

  • 80,000 sq.ft battery testing and environmental lab
  • Capable to handle batteries up to 1200V/1000A /500kW
  • Electro-dynamic vibration table to 350kN
  • Electro-dynamic MAST system for 6 DOF testing and high-frequency response
  • Environmental scrubber for all safety / abuse chambers


We are a highly experienced 3rd-party independent lab, specializing in testing batteries in North America since 2009. With a global presence and extensive expertise in battery safety and abuse testing, our battery testing operations span across various countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany, China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore.

We work closely with our clients to provide tailored solutions to meet their specific requirements. Our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have and provide support throughout the entire process.

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