What is Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) & how is it used by EV Charging Stations?
kazam
Nimit Arora

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is the shared language spoken between open EV chargers & charging station management systems. Not all EV chargers & management software support OCPP, but systems do enjoy a wide range of benefits.

The OCPP is an open-source communication protocol for networked electric vehicle chargers. The core vision of OCPP is to make any EV charger work with any charger management software, even if the charger manufacturer & software developer are unrelated and are building their products on the opposite ends of the world.

Features:

1. Open-source: Anyone can access & contribute to the protocol.

2. Neutral: OCPP does not favour any EV chargers or software over others.

3. Free to use: There is no cost for industry stakeholders to adopt OCPP.

4. Upgrades: OCPP is constantly being updated. The latest version is OCPP 2.0.1

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The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) is a global consortium of public & private EV infrastructure leaders that have come together to promote open standards. The OCA writes and publishes Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP).

Open standards are important to pushing the clean energy industry forward and making EV chargers more affordable, accessible & flexible.

Businesses, governments and utilities that plan to deploy large numbers of EV chargers have the most to gain from OCPP. Open standards greatly increase choice when picking EV chargers and software services.

Advantages:

1. Mix & match hardware: Connect a diverse range of EV chargers on a single software platform using OCPP.

2. Standardization: With broad OCPP adoption, worries about EV charger compatibility will be reduced.

3. Increased competition: The ability to choose between dozens of hardware & software providers drives down costs.

4. More flexibility: Open standards transfer the power to choose in the hands of customers.

Hardware benefits:

When you select an OCPP-compliant hardware provider, you get certain benefits that are not available to non-OCPP stations. You can choose the EV software that is right for you. You can switch your EV software at any time. You can be proactive in the market by selecting an option that doesn’t lock you with a single provider.

Software benefits:

With OCPP-compliant charging management software, you get access to features that non-OCPP software cannot provide. You can make your stations visible to a wider audience. You can keep different EV charging hardware on the same network & manage all your stations from one place. You can provide the best user experience by choosing industry-leading software designed for seamless EV charging.

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A. Flexible:

With certain EV charging stations, the hardware only works with its own brand of software. That means being stuck & paying their networking fees in order to keep your stations online. When you choose an OCPP-compliant charging solution, you can change your network whenever you want (Similar to Mobile Number Portability).

B. Smart:

OCPP-compliant charging solutions are the most competitive in the industry because they realize that you have the power to choose. With OCPP, you support service providers whose primary goal is to bring to the table the most feature-rich, convenient and cost-effective solutions.

C. Secure:

What happens if you purchase non-OCPP charging stations and the manufacturer goes out of business? With no option to switch service providers, your stations will stop working. With OCPP inter-operability, you never have to worry about these kinds of stranded assets.

D. Open:

An EV charging solution that has you tied to their network can raise their fees at any time and you will be forced to pay. With OCPP and the ability to change your network at any time, the market becomes more competitively priced.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1. How does OCPP work?

OCPP is a free, open standard for EV component vendors & network operators that enable interoperability between brands. It is essentially a freely available ‘language’ used in the electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) industry.

Q2. Are there different versions of OCPP?

Yes, as the industry evolves so does the protocols. Just like other software & apps, OCPP goes through updates, allowing it to establish parameters for how inter-operability plays into new charging station functionality. The most current version is OCPP 2.0, with OCPP 1.6 being its predecessor.

Q3. Can any OCPP hardware work with any OCPP software?

Yes, since both the hardware & software are OCPP-compliant, they can be configured to work together. However, the process for integrating hardware with new software needs to be done by the manufacturer to ensure everything is optimized properly.

Q4. Can any company join the Open Charge Alliance?

If you are a charging station service provider that makes either hardware or software, you can apply to become a member of the OCA. However, there are certain benchmarks your product must meet in order to be considered compliant.

Q5. Do regulations in India mandate OCPP implementation for EVSE manufacturers & charging networks?

As per the Dept of Heavy Industries, standards are mentioned for Bharat Charger (DC001 & AC001) which mandate OCPP 1.5 compliance for manufacturers & charging networks. The industry is now following the existing OCPP 1.6 and will follow newer versions soon.

Conclusion:

OCPP compliance for EV charging hardware & software has become inevitable due to the growing requirements of inter-operability. It has a great potential to be adopted as a formal standard in the future. EV charging vendors should seek expert assistance for OCPP implementation and developing a future-ready product roadmap.

Kazam EV charging points are OCPP compatible. For more information about Kazam charging solutions, charging management systems and OCPP compatibility, see this video.

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