To make life easier for EV-driving employees, and to comply with legislation, Unilever's Innovation Centre in the Netherlands was fitted with 124 EVBox BusinessLine charging ports.
Last updated: 12-10-2023
As one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, Unilever works with well-known brands to create a variety of beauty & well-being, personal care, home care, nutrition, and ice cream products. The company has been around for over a century and is currently active in nearly 200 countries where it employs a total of over 125,000 people.
Unilever proudly plays a leading role in sustainability. Companywide, Unilever is working hard to decarbonise its operations by 2030, reduce the environmental impact and greenhouse gas footprint of its products, and actively engage its suppliers to join them in their efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2039.
As part of their sustainability strategy, Unilever unveiled a new Foods Innovation Centre in the Netherlands back in 2019. Located in an area nicknamed the Silicon Valley of food, the campus known as Hive lies within the largest food and nutrition R&D cluster in the world.
Unilever wanted to provide its staff of 500 people (and daily visitors) at Hive with user-friendly and reliable EV charging facilities. It was a top priority that the charging experience would be convenient, match the parking architecture, be future-ready, and integrate seamlessly with one of the most sustainable multifunctional buildings in the world.
During the initial phase of this project, Unilever found out that offering EV charging at new non-residential buildings has become a new requirement by EU law.
As John van der Draaij, Site Operations Manager at Unilever’s Innovation Centre explained:
"We wanted to make life easier for our staff and visitors who drive electric—but we discovered that offering EV charging is now also a requirement by law for new buildings." – John van der Draaij
Unilever’s Innovation Centre has 18,000m2 of collaborative spaces filled with 500 dedicated employees who are working together with renowned brands to innovate and create the food of tomorrow. Safe to say Hive is usually buzzing with people, and its parking lot is filled with all kinds and increasingly more electric cars. It was a must to have an easy-to-use and reliable charging solution in place that would be available to all EV drivers on site.
The parking space is underground so the stations needed to have a reliable connection that wouldn’t solely rely on Wi-fi. While spacious, the charging stations’ footprint should also not affect the available parking spots or make parking more complicated for different types of vehicles. Next to this, the charging infrastructure needed to be safe, accessible, and easy to use for both staff and visitors.
In 2019, EV adoption was growing but it was nowhere near where it is today, nor where it is going in the coming years. The solution needed to be sufficient for today, ready for tomorrow, and easily scalable in the future should the need for more charging stations arise.
Hive is an energy-neutral building, built from heaps of recycled parts and powered by over 1,800 solar panels and solar cells. The charging solution would need to integrate with the sustainable electricity set-up seamlessly and be an asset to the building’s energy system instead of an additional load.
Because of the specific needs and complexity of the project, Unilever decided to get the help of its systems integrator, Hollander Techniek, to arrange the implementation.
“Our systems integrator chose EVBox as its intelligent products allow us to easily manage our site's distribution of power and scale our charging network in the future.” – John van der Draaij
kWh delivered in a year
kg Co2 reduced in a year
Unilever decided to work with EVBox, a leading and experienced provider of electric vehicle charging solutions, that has shipped over 500,000 charging ports in more than 70 countries.
With its flexible design and smart features, EVBox BusinessLine turned out to be a perfect match and the AC charging stations have been charging electric cars daily since Unilever’s new Foods Innovation Centre Hive opened back in 2019.
“Thanks to its flexible design combined with the smart load balancing functionality and the way it fits within Unilever’s parking layout made the EVBox BusinessLine a perfect match.” – Tim van Stipriaan, Engineering Consultant at Hollander Techniek
EVBox BusinessLine can add up to 120 kilometres in just one hour, is made of durable and impact-proof material, and has alternative connectivity options allowing it to perform optimally in underground parking areas such as the one at Hive. Because the station itself is connected, it can receive regular firmware and software updates and has access to remote support. Its built-in protections make sure the charging environment is safe for the building (and the vehicle).
EVBox BusinessLine is equipped with a bright LED ring that attracts drivers searching for a place to charge and provides clear charging status information during a charging session. Thanks to its built-in MID-certified meter, the station provides accurate energy measurements to monetise stations for Unilever’s visitors or reimburse employees with ease. All stations are fully integrated and are managed with Unilever's existing backend
Thanks to its smart load balancing feature, the available electricity capacity is distributed equally over all charging ports. This reduces the strain on the electricity system and enables a more efficient charging infrastructure where up to 20 charging points can share a single cluster. Thanks to this efficient setup, EVBox BusinessLine is a scalable solution that’s always ready to expand should your charging needs evolve.
By mounting EVBox BusinessLine charging stations on poles mounted on the wall, and by opting for the double socket variant, two cars can charge simultaneously on one station, saving Unilever space in their parking lot.
With help from EVBox’s distribution partner, Technische Unie, and installation partner, Laadpunt NL, 124 parking spaces were fitted with 11 kW charging ports—electrifying over 23 per cent of the parking lot
Last year alone, EVBox BusinessLine has delivered over 45,000 kWh. Given an EV’s average energy consumption of 0.20 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per kilometre, this equals approximately 225,000 kilometres in range added for Unilever’s employees and visitors.
To put it in perspective that’s enough range to drive nearly 6 times around the world.
By supplying 225,000 kilometres of range with 100% clean energy in one year (and zero emissions while driving) the emission of 25,000 kg of CO2 has been avoided. To put that in perspective, that’s about the same weight of 4 full-grown elephants combined or equal to the CO2 emissions (per passenger) on a plane from roughly 16 round trips from Amsterdam to New York.
So far, in 2023, the total amount of kWh delivered has already surpassed 2022 by more than 20,000 kWh, showing that more employees and visitors are visiting Hive with an electric vehicle.
Discover why workplaces like yours are choosing to electrify their parking lots and what benefits your business can expect for years to come.