Smart Charging for Charge Point Operators - OCPP 2.0.1

December 12, 2022
Smart Charging for Charge Point Operators

Europe is currently witnessing an unprecedented uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). Between 2020 and 2021, the number of new EV registrations grew by 17.8%, from 1,061,000 to 1,729,000. And guess what? There is no stopping the growth now.

While this impressive EV development in the EU plays an immense role in achieving the continent’s green plans, there is still a bit of concern surrounding a major part of EV sustainability - charging.

This accelerated growth of the European EV market will inevitably birth multiple electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) manufacturers. The resulting heterogeneity is certain to have a discordant effect on EV charging. As a result, compatibility between charging software and charge points becomes a big issue for charge point operators (CPOs).

This is why charge point operators must have the knowledge and tools to make EV charging management seamless.

The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)

The OCPP is an open-source language that reconciles the differences between charging stations and network management systems and enables seamless communication between the two. 

Consider an EV community with diverse EVSE manufacturers and charging stations. Chances are, interoperability among them is weak or non-existent. As a charge point operator who stands between buyers and sellers of EV charging services, navigating this challenge may prove daunting.

In 2020, however, Open Charge Alliance (OCA) deployed the latest OCPP version, 2.0.1, that would go on to change the game. This version was developed as a facelift to the previous version, 2.0, and to meet the growing EV industry demands. We could say that OCPP 2.0.1 was designed with charge point operators in mind because it maximally caters to their needs; how? You are about to find out.

7 Things Charge Point Operators Stand to Benefit from OCPP 2.0.1

OCPP 2.0.1 comes with certain advantages absent in the previous protocol versions. The advantages include the following:

1. Better control over transaction data

Imagine handling multiple businesses and transactions and getting the report for each transaction in a different notification, cached separately from the others. Cumbersome, right? Besides the trouble of opening, closing, and merging so many reports, there is also the risk of data loss or damage.

CPOs typically manage several charging stations and handle multiple charging transactions. In the previous OCPP versions, transaction reports came in multiple messages as they occurred. However, CPOs can get a unified transaction report in the latest version.

2. An added layer of security 

The world is transitioning into a space where if proper and effective security is not employed, personal data will be at risk of being stolen, exposed, or attacked.

In creating mutual communication between charging stations and charging management systems, personal data such as EV private information and EV drivers’ details are shared. In the previous protocols, encrypting these sensitive details and the communication channel required deploying VPN. However, using VPN, a third-party application, puts these data at risk of being compromised.

OCPP 2.0.1 encrypts these details without requiring a third-party app. This, combined with double security factors such as authentication, security login, and reliable firmware update, give charge point operators better security insurance.

3. Integration with ISO 15118

ISO 15118 specifies what happens between EVs and EVSE. In essence, ISO 15118 enables the self-identification of EVs at charging facilities. This means EVs do not have to undergo manual authorisation at charging stations to be granted charge access. So how is this related to OCPP 2.0.1?

OCPP 2.0.1 is primitively integrated with ISO 15118, thus activating its new features such as plug & charge and smart charging. These features bring about smooth handling of access and billing between the EV and the charger; therefore, charge point operators need not burden themselves with this concern.

Moreover, ISO 15118 improves data security through cryptographic methods. With this, charge point operators can securely facilitate data transfer between EVs and charging stations.

4. Next-level smart charging experience

With versions 1.6 and 2.0, EVs could only display the State of Charge (SoC) and notify the driver of battery status. This function was limited and could only give charge point operators so much information. OCPP 2.0.1 comes with improved smart charging functionality where EVs can communicate to CPOs the exact amount of energy they require in kWh. This helps CPOs optimise charging time and energy demand from the grid as they can allocate the precise amount of electricity that the vehicle requests.

5. Improved display and messaging for customers

OCPP 2.0.1 helps charge point operators strengthen their relationship with EV drivers through configured messaging. With the latest protocol, you can disseminate messages from EV charging management platforms to drivers at charging stations. That is, drivers can get messages in their preferred languages.

In addition, drivers also get messages that display applicable tariffs before charging, together with the running and total costs of charging.

6. More convenient handling of charging devices

Charge point operators who handle multiple complex charing networks are especially faced with the challenge of adequately managing all the devices under their responsibility. The previous protocols lack device management features that effectively help CPOs manage their charging stations and software platforms.

The device management that comes with OCPP 2.0.1 grants CPOs unrestrained access to information about charging stations and software management platforms. In addition, it makes chargers in the CPO’s networks more observable and, therefore, easier to maintain.

Extra features such as customisable monitoring, inventory reporting, enhanced configuration, and error reporting are present in OCPP 2.0.1.

7. Faster internet connectivity and lower operational costs

The earlier versions, such as OCPP 1.6, support Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). SOAP comes with three disadvantages that impede operational convenience for charge point operators:

  • SOAP represents data with Extensible Markup Language (XML)—which is bulky and harmful to internet connection speed and quality while using OCPP 1.6.
  • It requires multiple unique IP addresses to function, and these are costly.
  • It is an outdated technology, and any solution based on SOAP may be difficult to maintain.

OCPP 2.0.1 fixes these issues by breaking off support rendered by SOAP. This enables CPOs to enjoy improved internet connectivity and cheaper costs of operation.

Wrapping Up

The previous protocols have unique advantages but do not possess the required features for smart charging optimisation. This defect creates more work for charge point operators who have to deal with numerous complex networks of charging stations and charge management platforms. In OCPP 2.0.1, these issues are addressed.

The growth of EVs has led to the demand for safe and cost-friendly means of EV charging, including smart charging and V2G. Our FLEXO smart charge software powers the intelligent interaction between the driver’s behaviour, EVs and wall boxes/charge points to provide the best smart charging experience for EV drivers.

Book a slot with our team to understand how Hive Power FLEXO solutions can power your smart charging and V2X projects.

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