As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in the market continues to grow, so do the requirements for a robust charging infrastructure. Recognizing the need for electric buses and trucks to be charged flexibly and efficiently, Siemens and VDL Bus & Coach, have joined efforts to come up with innovative solutions for depots.
Siemens has installed the latest generation of fast charging stations, combined with a battery storage system at VDL’s interoperability test and validation center in Valkenswaard in The Netherlands. A special switching matrix allows to flexibly combine the capacity of the charging stations. The setup is managed via an energy management application running on MindSphere, the cloud-based, open-internet of things (IoT) operating system from Siemens. VDL will use this technology to conduct interoperability and function tests on EVs such as buses and trucks.
In the VDL Charging Test Center, the combination of these future-oriented technologies will undergo testing under real-life conditions to ensure its functionality during operations. Customers of both companies are welcome to visit the validation and test center to examine the technology firsthand.
The vehicle-to-grid function integrated in one of the charging stations allows the vehicles to be charged bidirectionally. This means they can not only draw power from the grid and the storage system, but also feed energy back into these systems. This function paves the way for future use cases, such as covering peaks in power demand. This means, EVs will be able to communicate with the grid and provide power back in case of capacity constraints.
"The charging technology from Siemens allows us to test different eBus and eTruck technologies in combination with charging stations and an energy storage system," said Menno Kleingeld, managing director at VDL Enabling Transport Solutions. "With the energy management application, we can control the flow of energy as needed. We use second-life batteries in the storage system, which means we can reuse our earlier eBus batteries and give them a new lease of life."
"We are excited to collaborate with VDL on this innovative project, which brings us a step closer to making eMobility more flexible and efficient," said Monique Mertins, head of charging infrastructure for eBus and eUtility Vehicles at Siemens Smart Infrastructure. "Three of our latest 150-kW fast charging stations are being used in Valkenswaard. The charging electronics can be temporarily interconnected, making it possible to charge three vehicles in parallel with a capacity of 150 kW each, or one vehicle particularly rapidly up to 450 kW using high-power charging (HPC). This means power can be adjusted flexibly and the charging infrastructure optimized for depots with different requirements."
The modular infrastructure in Valkenswaard demonstrates that charging systems can have the ability to expand over a long period of time without the need to adjust the grid capacity or connection. By coupling an energy storage system with charging stations and an energy management application, the capacity can be adjusted according to current and future needs. The project provides important insights for the electrification of the transport sector and for a successful energy transition.