1. Problem: Electric Vehicle Charging Fragmentation
Sustainability Category: Energy Management, Mobility
29% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are from transportation with internal combustion engine vehicles being the highest source. With only about 1% of cars on the road being electric today, range anxiety from the lack of widespread charging infrastructure is a primary adoption barrier.
As the electric vehicle (EV) charging technology sector develops, closed charging infrastructure networks generate friction for hardware manufacturers, software developers, and drivers. Electric vehicle infrastructure developed by private network operators create silos that limit value for stakeholders. Industry fragmentation forces EV drivers to join multiple networks with varying accounts to access public chargers. The lack of standards leads to duplicative development effort to integrate charging stations and backend networks with energy systems. This limits providers from offering additional features across all providers.
2. Solution: Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)
The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is a charging infrastructure standard for EV charging station, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), and back end software communication. OCPP reduces friction and fragmentation by increasing flexibility across the electric vehicle infrastructure industry for organizations and drivers.
— OCPP is an open-source, free standard published by Open Charge Alliance (OCA) that enables interoperability between charging infrastructure hardware and software networks.
— This neutral, open standard enables charging station vendors to access, share, and collect data with backend charge management operators so the widest amount of products can work together.
— On the charging station, OCPP enables charging station discovery, reservations, session authorization, billing information collection, and real-time charging data.
— On the backend software, OCPP enables real-time status of charging stations, remote charging session control, firmware management, and error notification.
— OCPP 1.6 is a JSON protocol that was released in 2015 and is the most widely used version in market today. OCPP 2.0 was launched in 2018 and provides major data encryption security updates. OCPP 2.0.1 is the latest version and was launched on March 31, 2020.
OCPP is primarily utilized by charging station product, design, and engineering teams. Key organizations that are stakeholders in the OCPP ecosystem include:
— Open Charge Alliance (OCA):An international consortium of private and public EV infrastructure organizations that leads OCPP development, adoption, and certification.
— Network Management System Providers: GreenLots and ChargeLab are two EV charging network software providers that manage charging stations across manufacturers via OCPP.
— Charging Station Manufacturers: Blink and EVBox are two EV charging station manufacturers that use to connect devices to OCPP supported backend systems.
— EV Drivers:Mobile applications across providers initiate and manage charging sessions.
— EV OEMs: Manufacturers integrate OCPP on the in-car display to manage charging sessions.
Once a hardware or software company decides to use OCPP, the following steps are taken:
1. The product management team will integrate OCPP in the roadmap and define requirements.
2. The design team will incorporate the OCPP functionality into hardware or software features.
3. Once approved, the engineering team will develop, test, and deploy OCPP features.
— Open vs. Closed Charging Stations: Advantages and Disadvantages. GreenLots: https://greenlots.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Open-Standards-White-Paper.pdf
— What is OCPP? ChargeLab: https://www.chargelab.co/industry-advocacy/ocpp
— About Us. Open Charge Alliance: https://www.openchargealliance.org/about-us/about/
— Sources of Greenhouse Gases. EPA: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions
— Electric Vehicles Setting A Course For 2030. Deloitte Insights: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/us/articles/22869-electric-vehicles/DI_Electric-Vehicles.pdf
One thought on “Open Charge Point Protocol”
Great summary of the OCPP paper from Greenlots. It was intriguing to see that OCPP is internationally recognized: “OCPP is the de facto network protocol throughout Europe and is used in 78 countries on every continent.” The article also discussed in great deal how OCPP can be used to manage energy load. It is optimal to charge electric vehicles during periods of low energy demand rather than peak demand because it lessens pressure on the grid and is generally cheaper. By using OCPP, the charging station operator or EV owner can limit the amount of power delivered through a given charger to get the most optimal price and electricity usage.
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