IEC 63110 - standardising the management of EV (dis-)charging infrastructures

Marc Mültin
Marc Mültin
April 27, 2017
• Updated
min read
IEC 63110 - standardising the management of EV (dis-)charging infrastructures

How to manage the communication standards for EV infrastructures.

In one of my previous articles called "The Charging Stations' Backend Protocol OCPP Will Develop - through OASIS and IEC", I introduced you to a new standardisation initiative. This initiative aims at internationally standardising the communication interface between a charging station (also called EVSE - for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) and a system that is in charge of monitoring and managing the charging station. That system is usually referred to as the Charge Point Operator (CPO) or - as a possible synonym - a Charging Service Operator (CSO) in the e-mobility market.
In this blog post, I want to share some updates on this crucial standardisation initiative called "Management of Electric Vehicles charging and discharging infrastructures" and filed under IEC 63110.

In the world of e-mobility, there are literally dozens of standards which specify everything from electrical safety to dimensions of charging cables to communication links. My focus within V2G Clarity has so far been on the communication interface between the electric vehicle (EV) and the charing station (EVSE), namely ISO 15118. But this communication interface alone does not enable a fully functional charging process. For this, the charging station also needs to exchange information with the IT system of the managing CPO.

Challenges call for a global EVSE-to-CPO standard

There are several protocols in place which specify this communication link, such as the well-known Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), currently defined by the Open Charge Alliance (OCA). But we need a globally agreed upon standard to ensure interoperability between the implementations of communication controllers inside those charging stations on the one hand and the software modules in the CPOs' backend systems on the other hand. With the rise of the e-mobility eco-system, millions of charging stations are to be installed within the next couple of years - interoperability is, therefore, key to secure investments and user-satisfaction.

Furthermore, we need a flexible and scalable data model which can handle

  • conductive and inductive charging/discharging technologies,
  • smart charging services and ancillary services such as frequency control (and therefore needs to support low latency communication),
  • the support for local so-called grid codes (a technical specification defining the parameters e.g. a charging station has to meet to ensure a safe and secure functioning of the electric system),
  • wireless communication,
  • automatic connection devices (ACD, such as pantographs),
  • autonomously driving and self-charging EVs,
  • an increasing variety of AC and DC power as well as
  • multiple identification and payment technologies.

This data model, therefore, needs to be agnostic to the respective technology of the EVSE itself. On top of that, it needs to cover aspects of cyber security to avoid hacker attacks on the electrical grid which is, in fact, a critical infrastructure, particularly in Europe with all the interconnected grids.

That's where international standardisation bodies kick in, such as the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). I introduced this new IEC standardisation initiative in my earlier blog post, but I want to give you some new updates on what has happened and some more details about it.

IEC 63110 - defining the link between EVSE and CPO

The project for standardising the link between EVSEs and CPOs was initiated by the utility companies EDF (France), ENEL (Italy), and Innogy (Germany) back in January 2016. This resulted in New Working Item Proposals (NWIP, that's the first stage of a standardisation document) introduced to the IEC by France and Germany which have been overwhelmingly approved in December 2016.

The IEC is structured in so-called Technical Committees (TC) and herein subdivided into specific Working Groups (WG) which in the end do all the work and specify a certain standard. This new standardisation initiative is therefore now defined by the Working Group (WG) 8 called "Management of Electric Vehicles charging and discharging infrastructures" as part of the IEC Technical Committee (TC) 69 which focuses its work on "Electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks". The to-be-defined standard is filed under IEC 63110.
So your main takeaway from this paragraph should be: The new IEC 63110 standard is named "Management of Electric Vehicles charging and discharging infrastructures".

It will address the requirements and information exchange for the establishment of an e-mobility eco-system, therefore covering the communication flows between the different e-mobility actors as well as data flows with the electric power system.

The first kickoff meeting was held in February 2017 in Frankfurt. As already introduced in my last post, the scope of IEC 63110 is described in three documents:

  • Part 1: Basic definitions, use cases, and architectures
  • Part 2: Technical protocol specifications and requirements
  • Part 3: Requirements for conformance tests

In this last post, I was telling you about the parallel standardisation activity going on in OASIS (Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) to speed up the standardisation work until the fall of 2017 and to then hand over the work to the respective IEC technical committee. However, due to a potential patent litigation introduced by one of the participating OASIS members, it was decided that the work on OCPP within OASIS will be terminated and henceforth be continued under the roof of the OCA again. As OCPP 2.0 is going to be one of the foundational inputs for IEC 63110 (next to IEC 61850-90-8, which I talk about in the next section), a liaison is set up between the OCA and the IEC 63110.

Relevant related standards and liaisons to set up

However, this is not the only liaison which is necessary. Let me give you some guidance through the jungle of relevant IEC standards and protocols which play a major role in the e-mobility eco-system and therefore also influence the design of IEC 63110. ElaadNL, one of the founding fathers of the OCA, has created a nice image in its EV Related Protocol Study version 1.1 which presents a discussion of a selection of electric vehicle (EV) related communication protocols.

Protocols related to EV charging  (Source: ElaadNL)

Next to the OCPP as a communication interface between EVSE and CPO, you also see IEC 61850-90-8 attached to the dotted line. Now, the IEC 61850 a global standard in the field of communications for substation automation, called "Communication networks and systems for power utility automation". IEC 61850-90-8 is a technical report (TR) issued by the IEC Technical Committee (TC) 57 and specifically addressed at defining so-called "object models for e-mobility" within the scope of those communication networks. The idea is to make charging stations as well manageable next to other grid-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER).

Now, as you may have noticed, we are talking about two different technical committees here: TC69 which defines IEC 63110 and TC57 which until now has been in charge of defining amongst others IEC 61850-90-8.
Well, luckily, it has been decided that the responsibility of IEC TR 61850-90-8 will be handed over to WG8 of TC69 o facilitate the harmonisation of the e-mobility IEC standards. This means that those guys defining IEC 63110 will also be in charge of incorporating the specifications from that technical report into one single and hopefully sound document.

According to the slides of the IEC 63110 kickoff meeting, another IEC series, the IEC 62913 needs to be regarded as well for some information exchange, but I am not going into any more detail here. 

According to the image shown above, the CPO also needs to take care of exchanging information with a so-called E-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP) - other common synonyms are E-Mobility Provider (EMP) or Mobility Operator (MO) - to authorise a charging process of a customer of an EMSP. The CPO and EMSP need to be in a contractual relationship so that the EMPS's customer can charge at a charging station operated by a CPO.
This might be realised for instance via the roaming protocols Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) or Open Clearing House Protocol (OCHP). In order to not have the hassle of setting up bilateral roaming contracts between CPOs and EMSPs, there are also clearing house operators who manage a central roaming platform, such as Hubject which provides its Open InterChage Protocol (OICP) for those services. But there are other roaming platform operators and protocols in place as well.
By the way: There is yet another standardisation initiative currently arising which is targeting a unified globally agreed-upon roaming protocol, brought forward by the State Grid Corporation of China and Chargepoint (USA), but I will talk about that in another blog post.

Furthermore, the CPO also needs to have a communications link to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) which is responsible for operating and maintaining the electrical distribution grid. First steps have been made to develop an open standard called Open Smart Charging Protocol (OSCP), also maintained by the OCA, which can be used to communicate a 24-hour prediction of the locally available capacity to the CPO. The CPO then needs to fit the charging profiles of the electrical vehicles which want to receive energy from his maintained charging stations within the boundaries of the available capacity.
However, I was told that the development of OCSP has currently stagnated.

Schedule for IEC 63110

There was a schedule presented at the kickoff meeting which said that Part 1 could reach the International Standard (IS) stage in the mid of 2019, while Part 2 might reach the Final Draft for International Standard (FDIS) at the end of 2019. Part 3 on the contrary would start with a Working Draft (WD) as soon as Part 2 has reached a stable stage (which is FDIS).

But there is also a more optimistic schedule which could be met provided that all registered experts (you need to register via your national mirror committee to be able to contribute) are actively contributing and providing proposals as opposed to just listening. According to this optimistic schedule, the Part 2 document could also be finalised as an IS in the last quarter of 2019, while Part 3 might be available as a WD already at the beginning of 2019.

Again, it all depends on the active contribution of the committee's registered members.


I hope I did not confuse you too much with all these standardisation initiatives and protocols. It is kind of hard to write in an enticing way about the world of standardisation as it is, after all, a rather dry subject. Nevertheless, we need standardisation in so many parts of our daily lives, otherwise, there would be much less user-convenience and interoperability, ending up in a mess.

So, with the image provided above, I wanted to show you that

  • there is already a lot of standardisation going on in the world of e-mobility (this was just a glimpse), and that
  • in addition to the already standardised interface between an EV and an EVSE (ISO 15118), we also need to standardise the communication layer between the EVSE and CPO, with the CPO being a vital role which links to many different market stakeholders in the e-mobility eco-system.

With that being said, the newly to be standardised communication interface IEC 63110 will need to make sure that on the one hand interoperability is guaranteed and that on the other hand the related market stakeholders (e.g. EMSPs, Clearing Houses, automotive OEMs, etc.) are able to act accordingly by sending and receiving their needed information to and from the CPO.
The ISO 15118 also outlines a public key infrastructure (PKI) needed to provision contract certificates required for the Plug & Charge authentication and authorisation. The necessary data flow between the e-mobility market stakeholders as well as business processes are, however, not defined in ISO 15118, but in a so-called VDE Application Rule document which is to be published in the second quarter of 2017. Check out my online course on "The Plug & Charge Ecosystem" to find out all you need to know about this VDE Application Rule.

All of this influences the IEC 63110 communication protocol specification. To be clear: IEC 63110 does for example not standardise the communication between a CPO and a clearing house, however, the data model needs to be flexible enough so that the relevant information needed for billing, roaming, authorisation, monitoring, etc. can be transmitted.


In case you wondered what the abbreviations in the picture above stand for, here is the complete list:

  • CPO = Charge Point Operator
  • DSO = Distributed System Operator
  • eMIP = eMobility Protocol Inter-Operation
  • eMSP = e-Mobility Service Provider
  • EV = Electric Vehicle
  • EVSE = Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
  • IEC = International Electrotechnical Commission
  • ISO = International Organisation for Standardisation
  • OCHP = Open Clearing House Protocol
  • OCPI = Open Charge Point Interface
  • OCPP = Open Charge Point Protocol
  • OICP = Open InterCharge Protocol
  • OpenADR = Open Active Demand Response
  • OSCP = Open Smart Charging Protocol

Marc Mültin
Marc, the Founder and CEO of Switch, has over 13 years of experience in the e-mobility space and holds a PhD in Computer Science. He is the leading global expert and co-author of international EV communication standards (ISO 15118 & OCPP 2.0.1) that underpin the Switch platform.
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