VDL presents unique charging plaza in Valkenswaard

VDL presents unique charging plaza in Valkenswaard

25 May 2018

VDL Groep strengthens its position as an electrification specialist for heavy-duty transport. Today, Friday 25 May, a unique charging location for electric vehicles was opened on the grounds of VDL ETS (Enabling Transport Solutions) in Valkenswaard. Up to seven vehicles can be charged simultaneously in different ways. The speed at which the transition to sustainable transport solutions is occurring makes it necessary to gain even more insight into the complete chain of electric heavy-duty transport. This insight is of great importance to the further development of VDL Groep's leading position as a specialist in the electrification of heavy-duty transport vehicles.

Rapid charging solutions are crucial to achieving optimum Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), one of the spearheads of VDL Groep. TCO is the total cost of a vehicle throughout the entire use cycle.


To allow different autonomous systems, solutions and charging equipment to communicate or work together, the test charging plaza is modularly constructed. The latest charging equipment from the main suppliers is present and can be linked to the various rapid charging connections. In addition to the standard and liquid-cooled charging plugs, various pantograph solutions are available. For example, the four rapid charging locations can be used for simultaneous testing of both vehicle-mounted pantographs and pantographs attached to the infrastructure. With a total available power of 1.4 MW it is no problem to conduct tests with charging powers up to 600 kW and current flows up to 1000 A. For comparison: a special home charger for passenger cars only charges at up to 11 kW.

Transition partner  

“This charging square will further the continuing development of various charging systems and interaction between them, strengthening VDL's leading position as transition partner in the area of heavy-duty electric transport,” emphasizes President and CEO Willem van der Leegte of VDL Groep. “During the monitoring and testing of the various systems, information is collected that will enable us to better advise our customers. The cooperation between various VDL companies and our strategic partners in connection with charging systems and energy storage offers clear added value. The further optimization of these solutions mitigates the risks during implementation and reduces the costs for the customer. This will ultimately accelerate the transition to clean transport, which will benefit us all.” 


Unique to the charging square at VDL ETS is that it is not only possible to charge vehicles but also discharge them via the charging infrastructure. After discharging, the energy is stored in a stationary battery pack. This energy storage system will not only be used to test charging systems but also to provide accelerated insight into the ageing of battery systems and possibilities to give batteries a ‘second life’. Moreover, the system provides good opportunities to further investigate the load from charging sessions on the electricity grid.

“This advanced charging square gives VDL the opportunity to test all new chargers as soon as or before they are put on the market in accordance with all future safety standards and requirements,” says Managing Director Menno Kleingeld of VDL ETS. “The ability to also discharge vehicles into energy storage systems makes it possible to perform charging/discharging cycles faster without excessive energy wastage or unnecessary aging of the battery.”


VDL ETS (Enabling Transport Solutions) is part of VDL Groep and focuses on research, development, prototyping and testing of new concepts, in particular the transport-related activities of VDL companies. The objective is to develop environmentally-friendly and innovative hardware and software solutions in fields such as electric transport (e-mobility), battery technology, charging infrastructure, energy storage, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and guidance and navigation technology. VDL ETS employs approximately 100 people.