Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (2024)

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (2)

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) has played a significant role in addressing the challenges associated with charging EVs at charging stations. It has successfully established a standardized and interoperable system that allows different charging station manufacturers and operators to communicate seamlessly with various central management systems. Thanks to OCPP, this industry has achieved a cohesive and efficient infrastructure for managing EV charging, ensuring compatibility and ease of use for EV owners and operators alike.

In this article, we’ll help you understand every minute detail about the Open Charge Point Protocol.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (3)

OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) is an open-source protocol that enables seamless communication and management of EV charging infrastructure, regardless of the type or manufacturer of charging stations. It ensures interoperability between charging equipment and central management systems, allowing operators to remotely monitor, authorize access, configure hardware, update firmware, and integrate payment and billing systems.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (4)

OCPP compliance is important for EVs and EV chargers because it ensures interoperability between different charging stations and EVs, regardless of the manufacturer. This means that EV owners can use any OCPP-compliant charging station, and charging station operators can manage their stations using any OCPP-compliant software. You’ll understand more about the essence of its compliance in the heading ‘Benefits of OCPP’.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (5)

OCPP works by establishing a standardized protocol for communication between EV charging stations (Charge Points) and a central management system (Charging Management System). This protocol allows the exchange of messages and data between the charging stations and the backend system. Alongside OCPP, there are other protocols being used or developed to handle communication between charging stations and EVs.

The Charge Point acts as the client, representing the physical charging station, while the Central System serves as the server, functioning as the backend charge point management system. Through OCPP, the Central System can monitor and manage charging sessions, collect data on energy consumption, and handle billing information. The protocol ensures compatibility and enables efficient communication and control within the EV charging infrastructure.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (6)

As we all know, the adoption of EVs led to an increase in charging stations across the world. It was apparent that a unified protocol was necessary to ensure different charging stations could work together smoothly and be efficiently managed. Therefore, to address this, the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) was developed privately by ElaadNL in 2009. ElaadNL is a center in the Netherlands that focuses on developing and improving charging stations for electric vehicles. They work with different companies to connect these charging stations to the electricity grid.

In 2010, after privately testing, the Open Charge Point Protocol was publicized as OCPP 1.2 version. We’ll be discussing in depth about each OCPP version a little later as we are now focussing on the timeline of events taking place. Moving further, the ElaadNL published its second version- OCPP 1.5 in 2012.

The OCA or Open Charge Alliance was founded in the year 2014 by a group of private and public EV infrastructure-based businessmen. They aimed to globally bridge the gap between existing and advancing EV charging technologies by providing processes and products that are free and market-oriented.

Shortly after the OCA was founded, the third and most widely accepted version of OCPP was released- OCPP 1.6 in 2015. This was followed by the OCPP 1.6 Compliance Test Tool (OCTT) in 2016. This is a software tool designed to evaluate and verify the compliance of charging stations with the Open Charge Point Protocol version 1.6.

By 2018, OCA released a newer version, the OCPP 2.0 and the OCPP 1.6 Certification Program in the following year of 2019. There was a bug detected in the OCPP 2.0 version, therefore, in 2020, they released the OCPP 2.0.1. Following this, the next two years, i.e, 2022 and 2023 saw the launch of the OCPP 2.01 Compliance Test Tool (OCTT2) and the OCPP 2.0.1 Certification Program.

Before discussing each OCPP version, let’s have a quick overview of the different features of the protocol.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (7)

Here’s a tidbit: Since OCPP 1.2 and 1.5 are the oldest versions released in 2010 and 2012, they are no longer actively maintained by the Open Charge Alliance. Moving forward let’s discuss the OCPP versions in depth:

  • OCPP1.2
  • OCPP1.5
  • OCPP1.6
  • OCPP2.0
  • OCPP2.0.1

This is the first version that was developed and released for public use in 2010. It provided basic features for managing EV charging infrastructure, including remote management and monitoring. Its features include:

OCPP 1.5 was released in 2013 and offered more improved features like-

  • Dynamic load management
  • Smart charging
  • Improved support for firmware updates and diagnostics
  • Enhanced Tariff Management
  • Additional support for demand response
  • Improved security features

Introduced in the year 2016, OCPP 1.6 version is the most widely used charging protocol globally. Currently more than 49 countries are actively using this version. EV Charging Software companies like YoCharge strongly prefer OCPP 1.6 because it has all the best features of OCPP 1.5 plus the following benefits:

  • Modernized load management and smart charging
  • Advanced energy management
  • Flexible tariff pricing
  • Robust security features
  • Additional functionalities for sub-metering & payments

OCPP 2.0 came out in 2018 with bringing with cutting-edge features and functionalities like:

  • Upgraded support for bi-directional charging, Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and load balancing services
  • Enhanced security characteristics
  • Advanced real-time data management (data logging & reporting)

OCPP 2.0.1, launched in 2020, is the latest version of the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). It aims to address bugs, inconsistencies, and provide greater clarity compared to OCPP 2.0. The focus of these improvements is to simplify the protocol and enhance its functionality. Its additional or improved features include:

  • Enhanced device management
  • Unified method for reporting transactions
  • Encrypted data packets at protocol level, secure firmware updates, secure profiles for authentication and secure communications
  • Extended smart charging functionalities like improved grid friendliness and convenient EV charging
  • ISO15118 Supported

The following are 5 benefits of using OCPP:

  • Seamless Interoperability & Compatibility
  • Remote Monitoring and Charging Station Management
  • Enhanced Customer Experience
  • Reduced Costs
  • Strong security measures

OCPP-enabled EV charging equipment from various manufacturers can easily communicate with EV charging management systems. Additionally, they can seamlessly communicate with each other, regardless of the specific hardware or software employed.

Thanks to the development of this protocol, Charge Point Operators (CPOs) can remotely keep a track and manage their charging station’s activities. The operators can control charging sessions by turning them on/off, monitoring energy consumption and troubleshooting issues in real-time.

Through OCPP, the CPOs can easily manage customer accounts and billing whilst offering their customers multiple payment options. With the help of this protocol YoCharge aims to offer an intuitive EV charging mobile app that would simplify the method of locating, accessing and paying for EV charging services.

OCPP brings down the costs by minimizing the need for manual maintenance. Furthermore it facilitates efficient use of the charging infrastructure and leverages pricing & tariffs to boost profits. This protocol helps in pricing strategies by generating real-time data based on the usage patterns during off-peak and peak hours. Other factors for dynamic pricing include energy costs
And supply limitations.

The Open Charge Point Protocol developers keep regularly upgrading the protocol’s security systems like the encryption and authentication. This safeguards the sensitive data against unauthorized access, data breaches and information tampering.

Following are three OCPP challenges:

  • Complex Implementation of OCPP
  • Compatibility and Interoperability
  • Regulatory Compliance

Implementing OCPP requires technical expertise and an understanding of the protocol’s specifications. Developing and deploying the necessary software and hardware components for OCPP compliance can be complex and time-consuming, requiring specialized knowledge and resources.

Ensuring compatibility and interoperability among different versions of OCPP is a challenge. As OCPP evolves and introduces new profiles, it becomes crucial to ensure that charging stations and systems can effectively communicate and work together. Integrating diverse charging infrastructure can lead to issues with integration and communication, which can impact the overall functionality of the charging network.

Complying to the regulations and standards pertaining to OCPP and EV charging infrastructure can be a complicated affair. Staying up to date with evolving regulations, permits, and certification requirements across different jurisdictions can add complexity to the implementation and operation of OCPP-based charging systems.

Following are some of the use cases of a OCPP:

  • Remote Charging Station Administration
  • Smart Charging and Load Management
  • Interoperability with Other Protocols

One of the advantages that the EV charging network operators get from OCPP is the remote access. They can monitor and manage their charging stations from any location. This protocol enables the backend system to track every phase’s voltage level reading and charge point status. Utility companies can make use of this data to monitor and manage the grid operations. This will help streamline the remote management and provide better results on overall efficiency.

The purpose of Smart EV charging is to synchronize EV charging energy needs with grid capacity. Doing so would ensure that the power distribution is balanced across charge points, sites and the grid balanced distribution of power across charge points, sites, campuses, and the grid. Thus, reducing the strain of load during peak hours.

The implementation of OCPP occurs at various levels (EVSE, station, or group/location) to handle load management considering grid, home grid, and generation aspects. The OCPP backend system receives charging data and issues dynamic load management commands.

Interoperability with other protocols refers to facilitating communication between different systems with different standards. In the context of EV charging, combining OCPP with protocols like ISO15118 and OpenADR enhances functionality.

ISO15118 facilitates Plug & Charge, enabling automatic identification and authorization of EVs at charging stations. It also enables Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capabilities for two-way energy transfer between EVs and the grid.

OpenADR allows utilities to send signals to manage electricity demand. Integrating OpenADR with EV charging helps balance the grid during peak demand, using EV charging as a demand-response tool.

According to the news published by the Open Charge Alliance, the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) 2.0.1 specification is now available to the public to download. Following this, the other recent update is the launch of the OCPP 2.0.1 Certification program. It consists of multiple added files including an errata and two new parts dedicated to Certification Profiles and Test Cases. We hope that this update streamlines the OCPP 2.0.1 experience.

YoCharge is a company that is popular for its OCPP compliant EV Charging Software. Our charging software enables CPOs (Charge Point Operators) and utility providers to leverage the performance and efficiency of the EV Charging Infrastructure.

Our EV charging software strictly adheres to the Smart Charging Protocols and is strongly committed to providing a superior level of quality, reliability, and efficiency.

We have discussed every inch of Open Charge Point Protocol like what it is, why OCPP compliance is necessary, its short history and different versions. Some other details included are of its benefits, challenges, and latest updates. YoCharge is OCPP 1.6 compliant and will soon be compliant with the OCPP 2.0.1 version. If you are looking for seamless EV charging software for your EV charging business, you can connect with us on email: sales@yocharge.com; or Call us on +91–9462878912.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): A Complete Guide (2024)
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