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The battle between ISO 15118 and DIN SPEC 70121

author
Marc Mültin
published
November 18, 2017
Read Time
~
2
min read

ISO 15118 vs DIN SPEC 70121. What's the difference?

A common question I receive from the EV community is whether there is a difference between ISO 15118 and DIN SPEC 70121. The answer tends to leave many of you quite surprised. This is an essential distinction to understand in order to make sure your products are interoperable. The German technical specification DIN SPEC 70121 is based on an early, unpublished version of the ISO 15118 standard and defines digital communication between an electric vehicle and a DC charging station. DC stands for direct current, which means DIN SPEC 70121 covers only the DC charging mode whereas ISO 15118 covers both AC (alternating current) and DC charging modes.

The ISO 15118 series has evolved greatly since the first publication of DIN SPEC 70121 and this has lead to a host of technical differences between DIN SPEC 70121 and ISO 15118. DIN SPEC was first released in 2012 and updated in 2014, whereas the first version of the technical specification of ISO 15118 was released in 2014 and version 2 is on its way.

It’s like a dialect of the same language. If you don’t understand that dialect, then it doesn’t matter if it’s the same language or not: you can’t move forward with the conversation.

This means that a charging station that only supports ISO 15118 cannot charge an EV that only speaks DIN SPEC 70121. But if the EV is able to speak both dialects, then they can successfully enter a charging session – and vice versa. That’s where it becomes very important that you understand and apply this knowledge to your product line and future innovations.

Another key distinction between ISO 15118 and DIN SPEC 70121 is that the latter does not support Plug & Charge, meaning: no secured communication via Transport Layer Security (TLS), no digital certificates, and no XML-based digital signatures so authenticity and data integrity can’t be ensured. Also, no smart charging is possible via DIN SPEC 70121, meaning: you can't send charging schedules to the EV to make it charge in a smarter, more grid-friendly way.

DIN SPEC 70121 was created as an interim solution to get the market up and running until ISO 15118 was released. Unfortunately, it still prevails in various test installations at the ISO 15118 Testing Symposia (Video 1 of my course “Revolutionize Electric Vehicle Charging” has visuals from the most recent symposia). But DIN SPEC’s days are numbered, as ISO 15118 and its wide range of additional features fast become the industry standard.

We’ll dive deeper about this important distinction in the online course Master the Communication for Charging Electric Vehicles. Please contact me if you have further questions or need additional clarification.

An e-book for beginners and experts alike. Reduces the steep learning curve of ISO 15118 by providing a comprehensive and easy-to-understand access to the Vehicle-to-Grid communication protocol. Written by our founder, one of the few co-authors of ISO 15118, this e-book has fast become standard literature in the industry.

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Since we have published our ISO 15118 Manual it has been purchased by the biggest names in our industry and has become standard literature.

as well as Daimler, Porsche, Shell, Tritium, and many more...

As we were intensively implementing and testing
ISO 15118, we noticed there was a lack of overview of Plug & Charge and the whole supply chain amongst
our stakeholders.

Our training with Marc helped us achieve a much better understanding of the whole ecosystem. It led to constructive discussions on the requirements and concept of ISO 15118 in general.

Angelika Neuleitner,

charging system Specialist at Ionity

Working with recognized standards is the right way forward for the integration of electric vehicles into the grid, and we value Switch’s strong experience with the ISO 15118 standard.

We were able to leverage Marc’s insights to corner some of the keys issues pertinent to V2G in the published standard that needed to be addressed.

Hamza Lemsaddek,

Director embedded solutions at Nuvve Corporation

Attending Switch’s intensive two day training with the team gave us a deep dive into ISO 15118 and the different use cases.

We were able to validate our design with regards to the ecosystem and beyond. We now have a head start for the development of our next generation chargers and are able to support our customers for the deployment of the equipment all over Europe.

Johan Devos,

business development Manager at ENOvates

Certificate handling in ISO 15118 is a quite complex issue. Marc’s well prepared one-day course on this topic and his deep knowledge helped us to train our team and speed up the development of the ISO 15118 Plug & Charge
charging controller.

Johannes Bergmann,

eMobility Charging Systems DEVELOPER at SIEMENS AG

When I was working with students on ISO 15118 projects, Marc's courses tremendously helped in getting students to understand the standard quickly and dive into coding without hesitation. Marc's crystal-clear explanations with eye-catching graphics will make you an EV charging expert in one week.

Minho Shin,

Professor at Myongji University

In two exciting training days, Marc quickly and effectively explained ISO15118 communication to our experienced development team. In addition to the in-depth technical knowledge, the information about the communication standards that are still being established is very valuable. The training will definitely help us to make the implementation more effective.

Reinhard Starzinger,

Project Manager Electric Mobility AT Keba AG

Marc Mültin
November 18, 2017

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