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Charging Technology

What is OCPP and how do you use it for EV charging?

By

Joachim Lohse

September 29, 2022

OCPP is used to connect charge points to charging software. The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) was developed by pioneers in the charge point industry to allow seamless interoperability between charge point vendors and charging software providers.

As it stands today, over 70% of all charge points use OCPP 1.6 or OCPP 2.0 to communicate through the internet to their charging software, but it took over 10 years to develop and optimize the standard.

In this article, we will discuss the top 3 use cases for OCPP.

Using OCPP to monitor EV chargers

Charge points are complex power systems that consist of wires, power electrics, cooling systems, and software. Although charge points have become more and more reliable, broken charge point hardware is the number one route cause of possible downtime and customer complaints.

Most charge point operators use charging software to monitor all important components in real-time. These charging softwares use OCPP to communicate in a standardized way, meaning, they can easily connect to any EV charger that is OCPP compliant. Similar to the way in which internet browsers work, OCPP-compliant chargers always send data in the same format as defined in the OCPP documentation.

The most relevant information that OCPP chargers send are energy data, start/stop information, error codes, and more. The charging software that follows the OCPP standard receives this data and can create graphs, tables, or notifications to ensure high uptime.

Using OCPP to enable smart charging

What is smart charging? Smart charging controls the charging point’s power output to reduce energy costs and ensure the on-time departure of electric vehicles. The most common use cases for smart charging are load management and demand response.

OCPP offers smart charging messages that send smart charging commands from the charging software to the EV charger. The charger receives the OCPP message and adjusts the power level accordingly. Most smart charging use cases allow the optimization of load and energy over entire charging locations rather than one single charge point.

Without OCPP, most charge point operators could not deploy large charging locations. OCPP can also be combined with other standards, such as openADR, to allow more complex utility integrations for demand responses and spot pricing.

Using OCPP for driver apps

OCPP enables companies to develop complex user apps for their charge point locations. User apps are used to authenticate EV drivers, process payment systems, and share data with the EV driver.

At the beginning of the electric vehicle era, EV drivers had to endure painful experiences to use public charge points. Today, this problem is mostly solved, as charge points are connected with OCPP to mobile apps and user dashboards. Charging an electric vehicle is now as simple as using a gas station.

OCPP has been a major driver for mobile apps, as software developers can focus on the user experience and don’t need to worry about the communication to the charge point.

We have developed a free OCPP guide that explains technical functionalities.

Summary

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) has made it much easier to connect charge points and charging software in a standardized way.

OCPP can be used to:

  • Monitor EV chargers by facilitating data capture
  • Enable smart charging using software such as Ampcontrol
  • Connect driver apps that handle authentication, payment, and data sharing.

Learn how to implement EV Smart Charging In OCPP Applications here.

EV Charging Management Made Simple

Ampcontrol is a cloud-based software that seamlessly connects to charging networks, vehicles, fleet systems, and other software systems. No hardware needed, just a one-time integration.

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