Why the application guide VDE-AR-E 2802-100-1 is vital in a Plug & Charge ecosystem

Marc Mültin
Marc Mültin
July 15, 2020
• Updated
min read
Why the application guide VDE-AR-E 2802-100-1 is vital in a Plug & Charge ecosystem

The Plug & Charge ecosystem, a path to the most user-friendly and secure way of charging electric vehicles

Last week, the German standardisation organisation DKE finally published the English translated application guide VDE-AR-E 2802-100-1, titled “Handling of Certificates for Electric Vehicles, Charging Infrastructure and Backend systems within the framework of ISO 15118”. This document outlines the ways in which various e-mobility market players such as car manufacturers, e-mobility service providers, and charge point operators need to collaborate in order to bring ISO 15118’s Plug & Charge ecosystem to life. 

Read on to find out how this document facilitates a smooth set up of the Plug & Charge ecosystem, which is the path to the most user-friendly and secure way of charging electric vehicles (EVs).

A short recap on ISO 15118 and Plug & Charge

For those of you who are new to ISO 15118, let me give you a short introduction. In a nutshell: ISO 15118 is an international standard that outlines the digital communication protocol that EV and charging stations should use to recharge the EV’s high-voltage battery. As part of the Combined Charging System (CCS), ISO 15118 covers all charging-related use cases across the globe – for any EV, be it a car, bus, truck, motorbike, ship, or airplane. This includes wired (AC and DC) and wireless charging applications and the pantographs that are used to charge larger vehicles like buses. Take a look at the Charging Interface Initiative’s (CharIN, the organisation behind CCS) website to watch the video showing many EVs and charging stations in action at the first CharIN Testival in October 2019 in Arnhem, Netherlands.

The smart charging mechanism built into ISO 15118 makes it possible to perfectly match the grid’s capacity with the energy demand for the growing number of EVs that connect to the electrical grid. It’s also the most user-friendly and secure charging mechanism available today – coined as “Plug & Charge”. The idea behind Plug & Charge is that the only action required by the driver is to plug the charging cable into the EV and/or charging station. Once the charging cable is plugged in, the EV will automatically identify itself to the charging station on behalf of the driver and be authorised to receive energy to recharge its battery. This renders the act of entering a credit card, opening an app to scan a QR code, or finding that easy-to-lose RFID card obsolete with this technology. However, these methods are still supported by ISO 15118 and referred to as “External Identification Means (EIM)”.

Why Do We Need the VDE Application Guide?

ISO 15118 focuses strictly on the communication link between the EV and the charging station. There are certain assumptions to be made on the role of various stakeholders in the backend, and mechanisms that need to be in place in order to provide what is called a contract certificate to the EV. This enables the EV to automatically identify itself to the charging station on behalf of the driver. 

The entire business process of a secure and manipulation-free charging and billing network involves several players in the e-mobility market. The goal of this application guide is to jointly develop the interfaces and messages (including the public key infrastructures - PKIs) based on which these players can securely communicate with each other and exchange the necessary information to ensure the Plug & Charge ecosystem runs smoothly. Ultimately, this facilitates a high market penetration as well as an international and – thanks to uniform use cases and interfaces – cost-effective use of this technology.

In order to realise this goal, a group of German experts started to work on this application guide back in 2016. The version published recently is already in its second edition. I was leading this working group when I joined back in 2017 and helped to make this standardisation document as bulletproof as possible. We completed the English version in late 2018, but unfortunately, the DKE’s statutes first demanded a publication in German, and then it took quite a while to publish the English version. Luckily, now everyone can read through this document and understand how the mechanisms work. 

Did you know that the roaming platform Hubject, which operates the world’s first productive ISO 15118 ecosystem, bases its Plug & Charge services on this application guide?

Click the cover image below to download the Table of Contents from the VDE application guide.

Table of Contents of the VDE application guide VDE-AR-E 2802-100-1

As one of the main authors of this specification, I tried to find a way to spread the knowledge about its contents as early and as clear as possible, which is why I created an online course called “The Plug & Charge Ecosystem” that I published in June 2018.

Online course on The Plug & Charge Ecosystem

This course, “The Plug & Charge Ecosystem”, is the third module in the bundled course “Data Security and Plug & Charge.” It builds upon the knowledge established in the course “The Cryptographic Foundations of Plug & Charge”. 

Upon completion of “The Plug & Charge Ecosystem”, you’ll:

  • Understand how the various e-mobility market roles, like car manufacturers, e-mobility service providers, and charge point operators, need to collaborate to install a contract certificate for Plug & Charge in an EV.
  • Study the cloud-based system architecture and public key infrastructure (PKI), and learn how to set up the related processes in your IT systems in order to participate in this ecosystem.
  • Grasp the data security implications between charging in a private environment and public charging.

If you are involved in the chain of cloud services that are necessary to create, temporarily store, and provision a contract certificate to an EV, then this course is perfect for you.

Choose to take the course on its own or as part of any combination of the three modules. This module has 11 videos, while the full course has 30. Each video builds on the previous one to make you into a Plug & Charge expert at record speed.

Whichever way you choose to learn about this exciting release, rest assured that the benefits and knowledge gained from these tools will only nurture your EV infrastructure and keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you have any follow-up questions.

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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