As the popularity of electric vehicles grows, so does the need for reliable and easily accessible charging infrastructure. Open standards, such as the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), are a crucial component in the advancement of EV charging infrastructure and play a crucial role in promoting interoperability between hardware and software providers, enabling diverse players to participate in the market.
OCPP 2.0.1 is the protocol of the future that you can’t afford to ignore, with benefits for both charge point operators and EV drivers. In this blog, we’ll explore the enhancements in OCPP 2.0.1 and how they can help you stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing EV charging market.
OCPP 1.6 vs OCPP 2.0.1
Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is a communication standard that ensures interoperability between the electric vehicle charging station and the central backend management system. OCPP 1.6 has been a reliable and widely adopted solution for EV charging networks for some time. However, the emergence of new technologies and the growing demand for advanced monitoring and increased stability have led to the development of OCPP 2.0.1.
OCPP 2.0.1 provides advanced smart charging capabilities and control features for utilities, Charge Point Operators (CPO), and EV owners. This version includes several enhancements, such as the support of the ISO 15118 standard for secure communication between the charging point and the electric vehicle. In addition, OCPP 2.0.1 offers a wider range of smart charging functionalities, giving utilities, CPOs, and EVSE owners greater control over the charging process.
While OCPP 1.6 is a well-understood solution that is sufficient for today’s use cases, OCPP 2.0.1 is seen as the protocol of the future. As most manufacturers and service providers plan to shift to OCPP 2.0.1 in the coming years, few charge point providers already market charge points based on this protocol.
Being an advanced version of the OCPP protocol, OCPP 2.0.1 provides several improvements and new features over its predecessor, OCPP 1.6, that you need to understand.
One of the important improvements coming with OCPP 2.0.1 is the Device Model which is a game-changer for charge point operators, offering a new level of control and monitoring over charging infrastructure.
The Device Model offers charge point operators a configurable and well-structured reporting system for charge point statuses that can be tailored to their specific needs. This is especially beneficial for larger CPOs, who can closely monitor key variables in the charge point to anticipate and prevent potential failures. With this feature, CPOs can receive notifications and promptly address any issues if the charge point’s metrics, such as FanSpeed or temperature, exceed a certain limit, ensuring optimal performance.
Enhanced data monitoring
But that’s not all! OCPP 2.0.1 has another exciting feature – customisable event notifications. With this feature, the central management system can subscribe to specific variables and receive updates only when there is a change in those variables. This is a vast improvement over OCPP 1.6, which can be resource-intensive since it only supports periodic notifications, and has to process all the data continuously. A perfect example of this is Monta’s PowerBank, which requires precise monitoring of the power consumption of each charge point every second! By receiving updates only when there is a change in power, communication becomes more efficient and resource-friendly for CPOs.
It’s important to note that the Device Model’s functionality is highly dependent on manufacturer implementations. While there is a list of standardised variables and components in the appendices of OCPP 2.0.1 manufacturers have the freedom to decide what components they want to publish via the Device Model. For charge point operators, it’s essential to maintain a close collaboration with manufacturers to ensure that charge points will support the monitoring of various essential components such as fans, temperature, signal strength, and more.
Setting and displaying tariffs and costs on charging stations
Another important improvement for CPOs is the ability to set and display tariff and cost information to EV drivers in their own language at the charging stations, making charging more transparent and user-friendly. This feature simplifies the charging process for operators and drives the adoption of electric vehicles.
Configuring charging station display messages
OCPP 2.0.1 enables charge point operators to customise messages displayed on charging stations. These messages can show the applicable tariff before a driver begins charging, the cost incurred during a charging session, and the total cost. It’s worth noting that in some countries, this feature will be mandatory to comply with future regulations. Therefore, it’s crucial for EV charging stations to incorporate this feature to ensure they meet regulatory requirements.
Displaying tariff and cost information to EV drivers will increase transparency and trust in the charging process. By showing the applicable tariff before a driver starts charging, drivers can make informed decisions and avoid unexpected charges. Moreover, by showing the running cost during a charging transaction and the final total cost, drivers can monitor their expenses and plan accordingly.
Enabling credit card payments at charge points
This not only improves the user experience but also eliminates the need for charge point manufacturers to use credit card terminals to set prices, simplifying the charging process and reducing potential errors. It also simplifies the charging process for operators. Currently, some manufacturers use credit card terminals to set prices, which requires additional hardware and software configurations. Using OCPP 2.0.1, charge point operators can configure tariffs and costs directly from their charge point management system (CPMS), such as Monta, which will then be displayed on the charging stations.
Making EV charging effortless with ISO 15118 integration
Charging your EV will be so much easier! With OCPP 2.0.1’s support for ISO 15118, EV drivers will be able to enjoy seamless and secure charging with Plug & Charge technology.
OCPP 2.0.1 plays a crucial role in the success of Plug&Charge technology by supporting ISO 15118 and its communication protocols, making EV charging more accessible and convenient for EV drivers. With the help of OCPP 2.0.1, the charging station and EV can communicate directly, eliminating the need for any external identification or authentication methods, such as RFID cards or charging apps. This allows for seamless automated communication and billing processes, making EV charging effortless and hassle-free. Plug&Charge technology, combined with OCPP 2.0.1, is not only beneficial for EV drivers and homeowners but also for public locations such as workplaces and charging stations, making EV charging more accessible and user-friendly.
Effortless prioritisation of critical loads with Smart Charging
A significant improvement in OCPP 2.0.1 is the possibility for the EV driver to receive more accurate information. By collecting data from the car, such as State of Charge (SOC), charging speed, kWh limit, and pick-up time, Smart Charging can provide more accurate estimates of charging time, when the car will be fully charged and ready to be picked up, eliminating the need for constant app-checking.
OCPP 2.0.1 also facilitates direct Smart Charging inputs from Energy Management Systems (EMS) or Distribution System Operators (DSO) to a charging station. This allows for the prioritisation of critical loads during high grid demand and supports integrated Smart Charging via ISO 15118, enhancing communication and security. With OCPP 2.0.1, EVs can communicate the requested energy amount in kWh, resulting in more grid-friendly, secure, and convenient charging.
Compared to its predecessor, OCPP 1.6, OCPP 2.0.1 has several advantages, including the ability to request a specific amount of power needed by the charging station. OCPP 1.6, on the other hand, only provides the State of Charge, which limits charging event management. With the growing demand for EV charging and the introduction of Vehicle-to-grid communication, which requires bidirectional and specific smart communication, OCPP 2.0.1 is becoming increasingly critical.
The safer protocol for EV charging communication
The OCPP 2.0.1 protocol offers improved security features compared to its predecessor, making it a more secure communication channel between EV charging management systems and charging stations. The protocol uses encryption at the protocol level, eliminating the need for a VPN connection or any third party for secure communication. New security profiles for authentication, secure firmware update, security logging, and security event log notifications provide a higher level of safety.
At Monta, we already backported the security improvements to OCPP 1.6, but not all charge points have implemented these security features yet. However, as demand for more secure communication channels increases, it’s likely that charge points will soon be required to support these added security levels.
Improved data handling: Streamlined transactions and reduced data usage
As the market experiences rapid growth, efficient management of large amounts of data has become increasingly crucial. With the latest update of OCPP 2.0.1, significant improvements have been made in the data section. The transaction handling model has been simplified, resulting in a smoother user experience. Additionally, data compression is now mandatory on the server side, which benefits CPOs with charge points on mobile connections by reducing their need for data plans.
The road ahead: implementation of the OCPP 2.0.1
While the OCPP 2.0.1 protocol offers many benefits for EV charging networks, such as enhanced security, smart charging capabilities, and extensibility, it still has some limitations. For example, the protocol does not yet allow for personalised and visualised interfaces, and charging point operators cannot control the full user experience.
Despite these limitations, and the fact that OCPP 1.6 is still used in many charging systems, most manufacturers and service providers are planning to shift to OCPP 2.0.1 soon, recognising its potential to become the protocol of the future. The adoption of OCPP 2.0.1 may be slow, but its extensibility, enhanced security, and smart charging capabilities make it the better choice for EV charging networks.
Overall, as the EV market continues to grow, open communication standards like OCPP 2.0.1 that promote interoperability and innovation will be essential. While there may be some limitations, the adoption of OCPP 2.0.1 can bring significant benefits to EV charging networks, making it a step in the right direction.
At Monta, we are currently working in close collaboration with CPOs and manufacturers on the implementation of OCPP 2.0.1, and we welcome anyone who wants to be involved in the development to reach out to us!