HOW WE’RE WORKING TO LOWER OUR IMPACT
As we make the switch to EVs, there’s more to be done to ensure that raw materials are sourced ethically and sustainably, batteries are recycled or repurposed and that the electricity we use to fuel our vehicles comes from renewable sources.
The way we design our chargers and operate our business is a small part of this picture, but we’re committed to leading the way. Below we have shared what we’re doing and the thought processes behind our decisions. We will always be striving to improve — this is just the beginning.
Evnex was founded with a vision to support the electrification of transport by designing more intelligent EV chargers.
Explore our initiatives below.
We recognise that all forms of transport, including electric, have a carbon footprint. See below how we’re working to lower our impact, and help our customers to lower theirs as well.
Good business starts with looking after the team. Evnex is a living wage company and an equal opportunities employer.
Evnex chargers are designed and manufactured in New Zealand with the circular economy in mind. We use no single use plastic packaging, and when your EV charger reaches the end of its life, you can return it to us for recycling.
The energy mix on our grid between carbon based electricity sources and renewable sources is constantly varying, depending on the time of day, demand on the network, and availability of peaky renewables like wind and solar. When charging electric vehicles, we often have the flexibility to be able to adjust the charging window and power profile to shift your charging session to times when carbon intensive generation is lower.
A modern EV can consume half of a homes supply capacity when charging at full speed. As such, large scale EV uptake has the potential to place unprecedented demand on our electricity networks in the future.
Instead of requiring electricity distributors to overbuild the network to handle unthrottled EV charging load during peak times, we're working closely with the industry to provide them with the tools they need to curtail EV charging load during those critical periods. This means they'll need to spend less money and valuable resources strengthening their networks, which means lower environmental impact and lower electricity cost for you.
As we work to calculate and reduce our manufacturing footprint, we have decided to voluntarily contribute to biodiversity and reforestation projects in New Zealand.
Wherever possible, we avoid air travel, as the airline industry is responsible for 2% of global CO2 emissions. When our staff do travel, we always contribute to carbon offset programs provided by airlines like Air New Zealand.
Some plastic packaging commercially available is misleadingly labelled as "degradable". This does not necessarily mean it will fully break down in soil or water. Some products simply break up into smaller fragments of plastic, allowing many living organisms to ingest these particles. In our opinion, this is not an acceptable solution.
Packaging is an area where forethought and clever design play a big part in reducing waste. Many of our competitors use multiple plastic bags, plastic covers and expanded polystyrene for shipping units. We use corrugated card folded inserts to locate and protect our products during shipping. Where possible we will use tabs and folds to avoid the use of tape.
Our cardboard packaging is from recycled sources where possible and it uses ink for text and logos as opposed to plastic stickers. While wood pulp based packaging is more energy intensive to produce, it can be more easily recycled than other packaging and if it is for some reason not recycled, then it is less harmful to the environment.
In our mission to choose the best possible materials, there are several constraints that we need to consider. Our EV charger enclosure must be highly impact resistant, fire resistant and also UV resistant. Unfortunately, it can be tough to find a material that meets all these requirements.
We've had many discussions with our injection molding specialists to ensure that the resin we use, along with the colouring and UV additives, meets or exceed our technical requirements.
In our search for an alternative to traditional plastic, we considered bio-based polymers, also sometimes called “bioplastics”. This can be misleading because these plastics are not inherently more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based plastics. It depends on the life cycle of the product.
A bioplastic material might be made from renewable sources, but if the process to create the bioplastic is more energy intensive or it has a shorter lifespan, it may not be a superior solution. A bioplastic may be chemically identical to a petroleum based plastic, but the "building blocks" were simply sourced from a renewable resource, therefore the term "bio" does not indicate biodegradability.
We found that bio-based polymers are not currently suitable for our application. Our enclosure is designed to protect high voltage components, outside, for at least ten years. If a renewable plastic from a sustainable source becomes available and meets our requirements, we will test it for suitability in our tooling.
Our R-Series enclosure is made from recyclable polycarbonate, which is a petroleum-based plastic. It has custom additives to enhance various properties. The dark grey colour of our flagship models enhances UV resistance as darker colours are more naturally resistant to UV light.
We have chosen an experienced injection molding company to manage the production of our parts and they are always working to reduce the number of parts that have to be discarded. One way we do this is to minimise tool changes or colour changes.
Every time we order a new run, plastic must be purged through the machine to remove any previously used plastic. The same is true for colour changes. Polycarbonate scrap can be re-ground and re-used but this is difficult and not done often. Re-ground plastic has slightly different properties and can suffer from lower performance in the finished part. Some plastics are easier to re-grind than polycarbonate - another reason we continue to look for better plastic options.
Even though our packaging is wood pulp based, it still uses energy to produce and of course requires trees to be cut down. We will continue to develop more efficient packaging and look to move items such as instruction manuals online as much as possible.