EV Battery
8 min

Precision with purpose:  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: 14 Jul 2023

Precision with purpose: 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.


Question: What is your goal and what are you trying to achieve within TÜV SÜD and for the transportation industry as a whole?

Drew, Jonathan
We want to be the customer’s supplier and partner of choice. We want them to come to us for our quality and experience and our ability to recognize what they need and implement a solution for them.

We are not a menu-based or cookie-cutter type of test lab. We work with our customers on their needs to get their products validated and onto the market. That is our goal.

Question: What strategies have you employed to stay ahead of emerging technologies and innovations in the transportation space?

Drew, Jonathan  
The number one strategy has been listening to our customers. Every contact with the customer is an opportunity to learn how the industry is developing. We are at the forefront of what the major players in North America are working on. Beyond informal communication, we have done voice of the customer work such as surveys and targeted interviews.

Another strategy is to rely on the strength of our global reach. We have transportation labs -including battery labs - in Europe, Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, and North America. This gives us an advantage when tracking the legal, regulatory, and technological trends within the industry. Most of the major suppliers are global players who appreciate the scope of TÜV SÜD’s operations.

We are also involved in standards committees like SAE, regulatory bodies, and government agencies. Not just specific to batteries but the larger transportation space. We are constantly learning first-hand how the industry is taking shape.

What is the approach for collaborating with customers and external partners, such as government agencies or international regulatory bodies?

Drew, Jonathan  
With customers, we often sit with their engineering team. They might have a new product they want to market or a challenge that they want our expertise to resolve. They have questions like, “What testing do I need to conduct for this new electronic component?” And “How can we market this in North America or Korea or South Africa?” We take our customers’ specifications and work with internal TÜV SÜD resources to determine the regulatory requirements and testing needs and then suggest a plan of action to meet their needs.

We also sit with customers to discuss long-term planning. We help them strategize big planning decisions like:

  • Where are they now in planning and manufacturing
  • Where do they want to be in 6 months to 3 years
  • How they plan to increase or decrease development
  • How do they see lithium-ion batteries versus solid state
  • What do they feel about hydrogen engines and fuel cells - will it help or disrupt their industry
  • Where their pain points are and where we may be able to help

With agencies and regulatory bodies, we also work directly with leading engineers and technologists from OEMs and suppliers who are also members of the committees. We understand future innovations and the changing landscape of regulation. This allows us to provide informed feedback about testing needs.

“We are very 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’ve finally made a permanent home here. It’s very exciting. I am so proud to be a part of it.” Johnathan Drew, Head of Automotive & Transportation Testing Services, USA.

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.  

At TÜV SÜD, we offer our customers over 100 years of global safety and certification experience, continuing to expand our capabilities in Michigan and throughout the USA.

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