Introduction to Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)

Introduction to Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) I OCA to IEC 63110

What is OCPP ?

OCPP is a protocol that describes the communication between Charge points (EVSE) and Charging Station Management System (CSMS). Two informal groups in The Netherlands initiated OCPP Forum in 2009, which is now transformed into Open Charge Alliance (OCA).

With more than 120 participants – including leading Charge Point Operators (CPO), Charge station manufacturers, Back office platforms (CSMS) and E-Mobility providers (EMP) as members, OCPP has now become the de-facto protocol for charging station - backend communication across the world.


Why OCPP ? | Advantages of Open Charge Point Protocol


Below are some of the reasons why any one would choose OCPP :

➤ It is open and free to use
➤ prevents locking-in to a single vendor

➤ reduces integration time /efforts and IT issues
➤ De-facto protocol for the station-to-backoffice communication with 120+ members

Among all, “interoperability” is the main benefit of using OCPP , which is vital not only for the Charge Point Operators (CPO), but also to Business, Property owners and EV drivers.

Advantage to Charge point operators

Before the days of OCPP, every charge point manufacturer used to develop their own proprietary protocol for back office connectivity that will lock the Charge point operator with a single charge point manufacturer. Now since almost all the hardware manufacturers support OCPP, the Charge Point operators have the liberty to choose their hardware from any of the supplier, which makes the market more competitive.

Advantage to property owners: 

Same is the scenario for property/business owners too; when they buy a non-OCPP charge station or make a contract with a non-OCPP CPO, they will be locked to the specific charge station and charge point operator. But with OCPP compliant charging hardware, the property owner can stay vendor independent. The property owner gets the freedom to switch to more competitive CPO who offers better price or features. It is also possible to expand the network with mix of different charge point hardware, without the need to remove existing installations.

Advantage to EV drivers:

The primary benefit is, of course the EV driver does not need to stick to a single charge point operator or E-Mobility provider. With the same OCPP charging station that’s bought, the EV driver can switch to a better CPO/EMP. The second, but very important benefit is the ability to use E-Mobility roaming. OCPP, along with another open protocol OCPI makes E-Roaming possible. E-Roaming provides the EV driver access to all available charging infrastructure with a single subscription or a contract with the E-Mobility service provider.


Myth Burst: OCPP is not a standard!

Having said all the above benefits of OCPP and it's widespread accomplishment across the world, I must also inform you that OCPP is not a standard!

OCPP is just a simple ‘syntax’ language defined by the Open Charge Alliance (OCA). It’s not currently approved as a standard by any of the international authorities such as International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ; also not by regional standards such as European Committee for Standardization (EN) or American National Standards Institute (ANSI).


Will OCPP become a standard?  

eMI3 group – an open interest group of 50+ major electric mobility players across the world have joined forces to standardize the entire E-Mobility ecosystem – start from charging station to station management system (CSMS) up to a level of IEC standards. 

You may get a quick impression eMI3 group’s Objectives , members and detailed explanations from the official eMI3 website. You can also download  eMi³ standard V1.1 electric vehicle ICT interface specifications to learn more.

In parallel, another focused task force initiated by the utility companies EDF (France), ENEL (Italy), and Innogy (Germany) and lead by Elaad, The Netherlands is working on a draft international standard: IEC 63110 - for Management of Electric Vehicles charging and discharging infrastructures.


Details about IEC 63110

IEC 63110 will be an international standard defining a protocol for the management of electric vehicles charging and discharging infrastructures. Picture below Road to IEC 63110 (Source: V2G Clarity) 
Introduction to Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) I OCA to IEC 63110
IEC 63110 will contain the three major parts below, 

➤ IEC 63110-1: Basic definitions, use cases and architectures
➤ IEC 63110-2: Technical protocol specifications and requirements
➤ IEC 63110-3: Requirements for conformance tests

All these three parts are currently in developments and may take 3-4 years to reach the official release.

I hope this article has got you a good start towards OCPP - Open Charge Point Protocol. If you want to know a little more technical insights into OCPP, continue reading: 

Complete guide to OCPP: design principles, functionalities and security of open charge point protocol.

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