What is OCPP?
OCPP—Open Charge Point Protocol—is an open-source communication protocol that provides interoperability between electric vehicle (EV) charge points (CP) and charge point management systems (CPMS).
This protocol allows charge point operators (CPOs) to gather data and monitor and control CPs through CPMS remotely. Operators use this protocol to:
- Start and stop sessions.
- Monitor status updates.
- Conduct tests.
- Collect energy consumption data and more.
Furthermore, OCPP enables the functionality of other industry standards, such as:
- ISO 15118: Enables Plug&Charge and bi-directional charging functionalities like Vehicle-to-grid (V2G).
- Smart charging: Self-balancing EV charging management system.
- OpenADR: Communication protocol for demand response programs.
OCPP ensures interoperability among the various CPs and CPMSs. This allows CPOs to choose and combine solutions from different vendors and easily switch to other products and suppliers.
The hardware-agnostic nature of this protocol future-proofs businesses by preventing vendor lock-in. Vendor lock-in refers to cases in which businesses depend strictly on a specific equipment provider. Avoiding it is an essential benefit of this protocol as the EV charging landscape innovates and regularly offers new and improved solutions.
Likewise, the resources required by CPOs, as well as their business models, can also change over time. For example, a CPO that starts by operating public charging stations may later expand to home and fleet charging. This would require different hardware, software, and procedures; the OCPP protocol enables the smooth addition of such new business cases.
CPOs can also lower costs and improve cost efficiency with OCPP in some of the following ways:
- Remote maintenance cuts back on maintenance costs otherwise accumulated from physical visits to the charger. It also allows for the timely addressing of issues.
- CPOs can further cut costs by offering customized and dynamic tariffs to end-users.
- They can also monitor usage patterns, customer behavior, and infrastructure performance to obtain a better overview of their charging network and optimize its performance.
OCPP enables seamless management of load balancing and smart charging. These are increasingly becoming part of governmental regulations that call for charging networks and EVs to have a way to support the electric grid in times of peak demand. It also means that CPOs will not have to invest in costly grid upgrades if they add more chargers to their networks.
End customers also receive better services thanks to the OCPP protocol because CPOs can provide a greater variety of EV charging stations, payment and billing options, and value-added services related to customer account management.
Practical Example of Using OCPP
When an EV driver initiates charging of their vehicle at an OCPP-compliant EV charger, the charge point starts communicating via OCPP with the charge point management system (CPMS). The CPMS can then start, stop, and track the charging session, provide real-time updates, and gather billing and analytics data.
The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) is the organization responsible for the development and improvement of OCPP. OCA’s members are businesses in the electric vehicle charging sector, sharing the goal of encouraging compliance with OCPP standards for both EV hardware and software companies. So far the organization has released the following OCPP versions:
- v. 1.5: This is a legacy version of OCPP but is still used in CPs. Its standardization began in 2012; however, the OCA no longer includes it in its standardization activities.
- v. 1.6: OCPP 1.6 introduced additional functionalities compared to 1.5, such as smart charging. At the same time, it lacks certain in-demand features, such as end-to-end encryption.
- v. 2.0: This version is a major OCPP upgrade but is incompatible with its predecessors. The 2.0 version is substantially different in what it offers and how it operates compared to previous versions. Some of the key additions that 2.0 brought to the OCPP include V2G support, enhanced security, and improved communication with other protocols.
- v. 2.0.1: The newest OCPP version, 2.0.1, builds upon the previous iteration by fixing bugs and improving protocol performance.
Learn More About OCPP
You can find more information about the OCPP from AMPECO’s comprehensive OCPP guide. Learn how the protocol works, what “functional blocks” are in the context of OCPP, what’s different between the available versions of this protocol, and more.
Was this helpful?