What is OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface)

Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) is an open protocol, developed to facilitate communication and interoperability between different entities within the electric vehicle (EV) charging ecosystem. 

OCPI enables seamless EV roaming and access to charging infrastructure for EV drivers by defining common standards for communication between Charging Point Operators (CPOs), e-Mobility Service Providers (e-MSPs), and other relevant stakeholders.

Who maintains OCPI

As an open and community-driven standard, OCPI is developed, maintained, and governed by a community of stakeholders, including industry organizations, technology companies, charging network operators, and other relevant entities.

While there isn’t a single entity or organization that exclusively maintains OCPI, there are several organizations and initiatives involved in its development, promotion, and ongoing maintenance. These include:

  • Open Charge Alliance (OCA): The Open Charge Alliance is a global consortium of companies and organizations committed to advancing open standards for EV charging infrastructure. The OCA played a significant role in the initial development of OCPI and continues to support its adoption and evolution
  • OCPI Forum: The OCPI Forum is a community-driven organization dedicated to promoting the adoption and implementation of OCPI. The forum provides a platform for stakeholders to collaborate, share best practices, and contribute to the development and maintenance of the OCPI standard.

OCPI and EV roaming

Electric Vehicle (EV) roaming, also known as charging roaming, refers to the ability of electric vehicle drivers to access charging infrastructure across multiple charging networks using a single account or payment method. EV roaming enables drivers to charge their vehicles conveniently, regardless of the network operator that owns the charging stations.

OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface) facilitates network-to-network communication and data exchange between different Charging Point Operators (CPOs) and e-Mobility Service Providers (e-MSPs), allowing them to collaborate and offer roaming capabilities to EV drivers.

When an EV driver wants to charge their vehicle at a charging station operated by a CPO other than their home network, OCPI enables the communication between the EV driver’s home network (e-MSP) and the host network (CPO). This communication occurs at a network level, enabling the authentication, authorization, billing, and management of the charging session between the two networks.

Types of OCPI connections

Direct peer-to-peer roaming

In direct OCPI roaming, the communication and data exchange between Charging Point Operators (CPOs) and e-Mobility Service Providers (e-MSPs) occur without the involvement of intermediary platforms or hub networks. The parties enter into individual agreements between each other’s networks.

Hub roaming

Hub roaming is also possible via OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface). Hub roaming, sometimes referred to as hub-spoke roaming, extends the concept of roaming beyond individual charging networks to include hub networks that aggregate multiple charging networks.

With hub roaming, you connect once to roam with many, using a hub network as an intermediary to get a single point of access to multiple charging networks for EV drivers.

Importance of OCPI

OCPI standardizes the protocols, data formats, and procedures for network-to-network communication, ensuring interoperability and compatibility between different systems and networks within the EV charging ecosystem. 

This enables EV drivers to access charging infrastructure seamlessly across multiple networks using a single account or payment method, enhancing the convenience and accessibility of electric vehicle charging.

Through the implementation of OCPI, CPOs and e-MSPs can collaborate to offer roaming capabilities, enhancing the accessibility and convenience of electric vehicle charging for drivers.

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