Open communication standards play a key role in advancing the rollout of EV charging infrastructure. They help overcome the barriers of proprietary protocols such as vendor lock-in and foster interoperability between hardware and software providers. As such, they encourage innovation and allow diverse players to participate in the EV charging market.
The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) promotes open standards in EV charging infrastructure by developing the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) that connects charging stations with software management solutions.
New versions of OCPP are collaboratively defined to ensure the protocol meets evolving market requirements. The latest version, OCPP 2.0.1, comes with several improvements, particularly in security and smart charging, that you need to understand.
1. Device management
Device management is a long-awaited feature, especially important for charge point operators who manage complex, multi-vendor charging networks. It exposes a wide range of detailed information about your charging stations to your software management platform. This increases the visibility of the chargers in your network, making them much easier to operate and maintain.
OCPP 2.0.1’s device management provides the following functionality:
• Inventory reporting
• Improved error and state reporting
• Improved configuration
• Customizable Monitoring
2. Improved transaction handling
In previous versions of the protocol, transaction data reporting was split over several messages. As the market progresses towards enhanced scheduling, the need to reduce the amount of data has become increasingly important to CPOs who manage numerous stations and transactions. In OCPP 2.0.1, the structure and method for reporting transactions are unified, reducing the amount of data as a whole.
3. Enhanced security
Creating a secure communication channel between your EV charging management system and your charging stations is crucial. In the previous version of the protocol, a VPN connection is required to encrypt the entire communication channel. Now, the data packets are encrypted at the protocol level and do not require VPN or any third party for a secure connection.
New security profiles for authentication, secure firmware update, security logging, and security event log notifications also help achieve a higher level of safety.
4. Extended smart charging functionalities
A significant improvement in OCPP 2.0.1 is the possibility for the EV to communicate the requested energy amount in kWh. In previous versions of the protocol, this kind of data exchange wasn’t possible. The car could only give a State of Charge (SoC) notifying the percentage of battery charged at a given time. EV charging management systems can now accurately view the energy (kWh) that each EV needs and set the smart charging output accordingly, allowing for more grid-friendly, secure, and convenient charging of EVs.
5. Support for ISO 15118
OCPP 2.0.1 has native integration with ISO 15118, allowing for new features and more secure communication between EVSE and EV. The newly added features are:
• Plug & Charge
• Smart Charging, including input from the EV
With Plug and Charge, EV drivers simply plug their cars into smart charging stations and charge without further authorization. Access and billing are handled seamlessly between the charger and the car. There is no need for a credit card, RFID card, or mobile app to start or stop a charging session. This is made possible because ISO 15118 enables the EV to automatically identify itself to the charging station and get authorized access to the energy it needs to recharge its battery.
Besides enabling Plug & Charge, ISO 15118 provides enhanced data security that comes with cryptographic mechanisms to securely transfer data between EVs and charging stations, enabling smart charging and optimal load management.
6. Improvements in customer experience
OCPP 2.0.1 gives charge point operators the possibility to configure messages from their EV charging management platform that can be displayed to drivers on the charging stations.
These include display messages:
- in the preferred language of the EV driver,
- that show the applicable tariff before a driver starts charging,
- that show the running cost during a charging transaction and the final total cost.
AMPECO EV Charging Platform supports OCPP 2.0.1
As a proud member of the Open Charge Alliance (OCA), AMPECO supports EV charging networks based on open standards and actively contributes to the development of OCPP.
OCPP compliance for EV charging hardware and software is becoming inevitable due to the growing requirements for interoperability. In 2019, the UK made smart charging standards mandatory for new charge points and California is setting OCPP 1.6 as a mandatory requirement as of September 2022.
For these reasons, our EV charging management platform strictly follows OCPP. This way we can ensure the interoperability of hardware and software in the future and bring numerous benefits to charge point operators and EV drivers. Clients with OCPP 2.0.1 integrated charge points can communicate effectively with our platform and benefit from the protocol’s extended features.
We have broad experience with OCPP implementations and have ready integrations with 40+ charging hardware brands. We also provide virtual demo stations as a tool to assist companies in testing their OCPP 2.0.1 implementations for conformance to the guidelines specified by the OCA. If you are considering charging station models, our comprehensive 80+ scenario OCPP compatibility evaluation protocol can help you make the right choice.