OCPP vs OCPI: A Comprehensive Guide to Charge Point Protocols

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is here, and a key factor for its success is a robust and user-friendly charging infrastructure. But have you ever wondered how all those charging stations talk to each other? This is where charge point protocols like OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) and OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface) come into play.

These protocols are vital in facilitating communication between EV charging stations and central management systems, enabling a smoother, more flexible charging experience for EV drivers.

However, despite their shared goal of streamlining EV charging, OCPI and OCPP differ in several key aspects, including their functionality, compatibility, and approach to integration.

This blog aims to unravel the complexities of OCPP vs OCPI, shedding light on everything you need to know about these essential charge point protocols. By delving into their distinctions and applications, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding that can help stakeholders make informed decisions in the rapidly advancing EV industry.

Trends in the Electric Vehicle Market

  • Revenue in the EV market is estimated to reach $623.3 billion in 2024.
  • Anticipated unit sales of the Electric Vehicles market are 17.07m vehicles units by 2028.
  • The volume-weighted average price of the EV market in 2024 is predicted to be $52.9k.
  • China is forecasted to generate the highest revenue, with an estimated $319,000m in 2024, highlighting its significant presence in this domain.
  • Norway is leading the EV market with a 66% market share.

Source: Statista

Understanding the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)

The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) establishes a communication standard between the charging point and the charging management system (CMS). This protocol empowers the CMS to oversee and regulate the charging process, retrieve data concerning energy usage and charging session specifics, as well as obtain error codes and pertinent information from the charging point. OCPP implements WebSocket for two-way communication.

Since its establishment in 2009 by the Open Charge Alliance, the OCPP protocol has undergone significant evolution, culminating in multiple versions. Currently, OCPP 2.0 stands as the latest and most advanced iteration of the protocol. It provides a robust framework through a set of standard commands and data structures, enabling diverse operations and functionalities within EV charging systems.

Key Features and Uses of OCPP

OCPP offers a robust set of functionalities that ensure smooth operation and efficient management of the EV charging station business. Let’s delve into these features and explore how they benefit the EV charging ecosystem.

ocpp features
  • Interoperability: OCPP facilitates seamless communication among different EV charging manufacturers, enabling EV owners to utilize various charging stations without constraints imposed by service providers or manufacturers. This interoperability also aids network operators in effectively managing charging infrastructure.
  • Charging Management: Both EV charging providers and EV owners benefit from OCPP’s ability to monitor and manage charge sessions in real-time. With the support of charge management applications, OCPP provides updates on EV charge rates, payment methods, and the status of charging stations, enhancing user experience and convenience.
  • Energy Management: OCPP supports load balancing and energy demand management, allowing EV charging providers to optimize the utilization of energy resources. Additionally, the protocol aids in reducing the impact of EV charging on the grid, contributing to sustainable energy practices.
  • Billing and Payment: Billing and payment processes are streamlined through OCPP, as backend service providers can efficiently accumulate and process data on charging sessions. This facilitates accurate measurement of energy transmission/usage costs and the generation of billing information, simplifying the payment process for EV owners.
  • Firmware Updates: OCPP enables over-the-air firmware updates to EV charging stations, ensuring continuous improvement in functionality and safety standards. This capability allows manufacturers to enhance the performance and reliability of charging stations without the need for physical intervention.
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Understanding the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI)

Developed by a consortium of mobility service providers including ElaadNL, eViolin, a Dutch charge point operator, and a group of national grid operators, OCPI serves as an open communication protocol facilitating seamless interaction between an EV charging point service provider and an energy management system. Essentially, this protocol enables automatic sharing of information among various electric vehicle (EV) operators and EV infrastructure, including delivering a 24-hour forecast of the available electricity grid capacity.

By enabling smooth roaming across diverse charging networks, OCPI simplifies access to charging stations for EV owners. This means they can utilize stations from multiple operators without the hassle of managing numerous accounts or payment methods.

OCPI is freely available, allowing EV drivers and owners to effectively communicate and charge across different EV charging networks. It ensures accurate information about charge stations, including accessibility, location verification, and pricing. Additionally, OCPI facilitates real-time billing and mobile access to charge stations, enhancing the overall user experience.

Key Features and Uses of OCPI

OCPI offers a range of features designed to streamline the electric vehicle (EV) charging experience and enhance interoperability across charging networks. These features include:

ocpi features
  • Peer-to-peer Roaming: This functionality allows service providers to seamlessly track and manage their customers’ charging activities across different charging networks. It facilitates a cohesive experience for EV drivers, irrespective of the network they use.
  • Roaming via Hub: OCPI enables EV roaming agreements between predefined networks and service providers. This means EV drivers can access charging facilities across multiple networks, expanding their options and convenience.
  • Mixed Roaming: This feature empowers EV drivers with greater flexibility in choosing charging stations. Any OCPI-compatible charging station can communicate with other networks, offering users more freedom in selecting charging points that suit their needs.
  • Real-time Data: OCPI provides real-time information about EV charging stations, such as availability and cost. This enables EV drivers to make informed decisions about where to charge their vehicles, enhancing efficiency and convenience.
  • Charge Session Authorization: Network operators can authorize charging sessions and manage reservations through OCPI. This ensures smooth and secure transactions for EV drivers, while also optimizing the utilization of charging infrastructure.
  • Billing and Tariffs: OCPI facilitates seamless payments across various charging networks, allowing EV drivers to easily settle their charging costs. This standardizes the billing process and enhances transparency for both users and operators.
  • Platform Monitoring: Network operators and service providers can leverage OCPI for comprehensive data analysis and monitoring across their EV charging stations. This enables them to identify trends, optimize operations, and improve overall network performance.
develop ev app

OCPP vs. OCPI: Key Difference

While both OCPP and OCPI play crucial roles in the EV charging landscape, they address distinct functionalities. Let’s explore OCPP vs OCPI and understand how they work together to ensure a seamless charging experience.

Purpose Enables using network charging stations for statuses and operation management. Standard global open communication protocol for networking and management of switching between networks.
Establishment Launched in 2009 by the Open Charge Alliance. Developed by ElaadNL, eViolin, and a group of national grid operators.
Latest Version OCPP 2.0.1 OCPI 2.2.1
Scope Works with apps and charging systems for updates and managing charging information. Works between charging station and charging systems’ backend.
Application Comprehensive EV charging software communicating with central network server. Connects EV charging station operators, charging networks, and EV charging service providers.
Interoperability Facilitates communication among EV users’ apps, charging points, and interoperability among different charging stations. Enables better communication between different EV networks and charging stations, facilitating roaming between EV charging networks easily.

Wrapping Up

Understanding the nuances between OCPI and OCPP is fundamental for anyone involved in the EV industry, whether you are a service provider, charge point operator, or an EV driver. Each protocol serves its unique role in enhancing the EV charging ecosystem, and together, they pave the way for a more interconnected and user-friendly network. As the demand for EVs continues to soar, embracing these technologies and understanding their functionalities becomes paramount. By doing so, we can ensure a seamless, efficient, and accessible charging infrastructure that meets the needs of the present and future generations of electric vehicle drivers.