Open Charge Point Protocol

What is OCPP?

This brief guide covers important aspects of the OCPP and why charge point operators and e-Mobility service providers should stay informed of the protocol.

What is the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)?

OCPP stands for 'Open Charge Point Protocol'. It was first created in 2009 by the E-Laad Foundation (formerly known as ElaadNL), and is currently managed by the Open Charge Alliance, which has its main office in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The purpose of OCPP is to develop an open protocol that enables the communication between any compatible EV charging station and a central charging management system. OCPP is fast becoming the de-facto standard, with 240 hardware and software vendors worldwide working on OCPP software.

Why Choose OCPP-compliant hardware?

Reliability and uptime are paramount for all EV charging service providers. Service downtime due to hardware faults can cripple your operations. Service providers today prefer to mix and match hardware from multiple vendors. This can be due to the need to diversify your hardware supply chain, or due to the varying feature sets of one vendor vs. another. As long as your charge station vendors have implemented the OCPP software stack, service providers can install hardware from any vendor and manage them remotely via a single central OCPP backoffice

OCPP Core Features for EV Charging Management

Charging services need OCPP Backoffice Software to remotely monitor and manage their network. You can monitor your chargestations remotely, start and stop charging sessions remotely, authorize drivers for access, receive charging session metrics and remotely configure your hardware and update firmware from time to time. More advanced OCPP back office software will allow you to manage reservations and configure Smart Charging and Load Management on your charging network.  

Which hardware suppliers support OCPP?

Today most charging station hardware suppliers support OCPP. The most notable exception is Tesla that uses their own proprietary software stack. For a full list see the Open Charge Alliance members list.

What is OCPP 2.0.1?

Released in 2020, OCPP 2.0.1 improved on its predecessor’s security features as well as its ability to take on higher volumes of sessions.  Key differences between OCPP 2.0.1 and the earlier protocol (1.6J) include:

  • Device Management: CPOs can manage complex multi-vendor DC fast charging stations.

  • Improved Transaction Handling: Essential for those looking to scale up their charging network with a higher utilization rate.

  • Security: Secure firmware updates, security logging and event notification, and security profiles for authentication (key management for client-side certificates), as well as secure communication via Transport Layer Security (TLS).

  • ISO15118: Improved Plug & Charge functionality.

  • Smart Charging: For topologies with an Energy Management System (EMS), a local controller and for integrated smart charging of the EV, charging station and Charging Station Management System.

Choosing between OCPP 1.6 vs. 2.0.1

Almost all chargestations sold in the market today use OCPP v1.6J. This is the version that most commercial charging service providers use for running their operations. The newest version of OCPP is 2.0.1. It was released on April 2020 and includes improvements in Device Management, Security enhancements, support for ISO 15118 (Plug & Charge), Chargestations display screen support.OCPP 2.0.1 is slowly being adopted by chargestation hardware vendors and EV Charging Management software providers. For now (Aug 2022), unless you specifically need certain 2.0.1 features, service providers are best off with OCPP 1.6J

Can I build my own OCPP Software Stack?

There is nothing stopping you from building your own implementation of OCPP for your EV charging hardware or for your own charging management system. You can download the protocol from here and start coding your own implementation.

Can I run my EV Charging business with OCPP?

Afraid not. OCPP is only the technical messaging protocol to remote control the charging station. To lauch a paid EV charging service, you need to handle payments, setting prices, driver access control and security. You probably also want to build a kick-ass driver app or customize management dashboards and reporting for  your customer. Unfortunately if you want to build your own EV charging application, you need to build your own OCPP software stack, the business logic and the customer facing applications yourself.

What is eDRV?

eDRV is an API first EV Charging Management software for OCPP, with exceptional features for paid EV charging management. With eDRV you do not need to build using OCPP, you can directly manage your charging network via our REST APIs, dashboards and driver payment applications.Instead of building your own OCPP software stack to connect to charging stations, you can simply connect any compatible charging hardware to eDRV and launch commercial services for home, multi-family homes, retail and fleet applications within days.You can build custom driver facing applications and dashboards using our APIs, collect driver payments (QR code based, powered by Stripe) and manage your energy across your network using our Smart Charging features.Learn more about eDRV’s EV Charging Management and APIs.