OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) and its importance to the EV Charging Systems

What is OCCP and why it is essential for EV Charging Systems?

While choosing the right EV charging Solution, there are a lot of things that you need to consider.  You might not be aware of is the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). Read this blog till the very end prepared by our team of experts.

What is OCPP?

The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is an open-source communication standard for EV charging systems and network software Companies. In layman terms, any EV charging station that is OCPP compliant can be configured to run any similarly OCPP compliant software.

In layman terms, it is like buying a mobile handset working with a single operator for the lifetime, before moving further ahead, let’s understand the types of charging networks:

Following are some released versions of OCPP by Open Charge Charge Alliance:

  • OCPP 1.5 I Released in 2012.
  • OCPP 1.6 (S/J) Released in Oct 2015.
  • OCPP 2.0 (J) I Released in April 2018.
  • OCPP 2.0 1 (J) Released in March 2020.

What role does OCPP play in EV charging stations?

OCPP helps the EVSE and CSMS to communicate with each other by creating an open platform. Here are some of the basic operations supported via OCPP.

- Authorization of EV user for the start of charging including the local list of Authorization

- Real-Time Charging session data transfer to the Central Management system.

- Smart Charging

- Remote Unlocking of charging gun

- Firmware management of chargers

- Remote charging Session Control.

What are the key benefits of OCPP?

Here are some key benefits of OCPP for EV Charging Station:

  • It makes it possible to connect any central management with any charging system, regardless of any vendor.
  • The standardized open protocol gives charge point operators the flexibility to procure charging equipment from multiple vendors.
  • New Features and improvements can be added relatively easily through the freedom of protocol.

What is the significance of OCPP in Smart Charging?

OCPP provides CSMS the ability to optimally schedule charging of EVs in order to maximize the use of the sanctioned electrical power from the grid. Smart Charging Maximizes the number of EVs that can be charged together within constraints of contract demand. This helps in enhancing stability.

Smart Charging enables pure control over the power and current being supplied to a particular vehicle or group of vehicles at the same time. Also, scheduling the EV charging based on the Time of Day tariff and availability of open access to EV owners and fleet operators can save on cost per unit of energy delivered to the vehicle.

What are the different types of OCPP Protocols?

  • OCPP 1.2/1.5- This is based on SOAP, which served as the foundation for today’s matured OCPP protocols before OCA was founded.
  • OCPP 1.6- It is a widely used protocol for commercial purposes due to its early availability. This supports both SOAP and JSON over WebSocket. The protocol has been updated over time including support for charging features, security, and certification to validate the protocol implementation.
  • OCPP 2.0.1- This is the latest OCPP protocol, launched in 2020 with advanced functionalities of device management. Unlike OCPP 1.6, there is no need for a dedicated VPN between the charge point and back-end system to ensure security.

Key things you need to consider while Implementing OCPP protocol

  • Protocol Selection: The earlier version of the OCPP was SOAP that uses XML to represent data is very bulky and not ideal for charge with moderate internet connectivity. This also supports JSON-over- WebSocket which is modern technology and simplifies communication using OCPP client-server Architecture.
  • Integration Testing-Once the basic implementation of OCPP is done, it is important to test various communication services and interoperability between the charger and back-end server.  This includes operations initiated by the charger and EV users mobile app
  • OCPP Migration- Although the latest OCPP 2.0.1 offers a wide variety of features i.e. device management, smart charging, etc. one should carefully consider migration due to inconsistent protocol interpretation.

Final Words

OCPP Compliance for EV charging hardware and software has become inevitable due to the growing dependency on interoperability. It has a great potential to be adopted as an ISO (standard) in the future and EV charging Vendors should seek expert assistance for OCPP implantation and testing and developing a future-ready product revamp.

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