What is OCPP 2.0.1 and why does it matter?

Ben Kegler
Ben Kegler
September 27, 2023
• Updated
min read
What is OCPP 2.0.1 and why does it matter?

What is OCPP 2.0.1 and why does it matter?

In June 2023, Josev, our embedded charger software solution, achieved a major milestone. It was certified by Dekra Laboratories and the Open Charge Alliance (OCA) as OCPP 2.0.1 compliant.This certification is a big deal since it guarantees that both the Switch Platform and Josev meet the highest (and latest) standards in EV charging. The OCA splits its OCPP 2.0.1 testing into two buckets (for now, we expect more buckets coming soon):

1. Core functionality: This includes interoperability, remote control, support and maintenance, authorisation, configuration of the device model, transaction support, and basic security.

2. Advanced security: This means providing support for transport layer security (TLS), an encryption and authentication protocol that guards against hacking and eavesdropping.

Josev, alongside our Switch charger management platform, meets the strenuous requirements set by the OCA. In simple terms, users can be confident and secure when using our software.

    What better EV charging looks like

    The EV charging ecosystem is still rapidly developing. And finally, we’re starting to see a clear definition of what ‘good’ actually means. The OCA outlines an extensive list of certified use cases to ensure charging stations and networks meet specific requirements for functionality and interoperability.

    This matters because it creates a more standardised approach to EV charging. EV drivers can expect a consistent charging experience across different charging networks and locations. Something that’s been sorely lacking for too long.

    Characteristics of the OCA’s use cases

    The OCA’s use cases help define what an OCPP 2.0.1-compliant solution must do. In essence, the use cases outline the functional requirements needed for:

    • An elevated EV charging experience for the driver (e.g. Plug & Charge and display messages).
    • A better operational experience for the charge point operator (e.g. advanced diagnostics to minimise downtime and secure firmware updates).

    Benefits of OCPP 2.0.1 use cases

    OCPP 2.0.1 use cases help EV charging developers because they demonstrate how the charging process should behave, while also helping identify any errors that could arise.Let’s look at the key benefits of the certified use cases in greater detail:

    1. Security: Protect data and connections

    Protecting your data is critical. One of the aspects of OCPP 2.0.1 is its robust cybersecurity features. The number of electric vehicles on the roads is increasing. So ensuring the safety of personal and transactional data is paramount. OCPP 2.0.1 incorporates state-of-the-art encryption and authentication mechanisms that safeguard sensitive information, establishing trust in the charging infrastructure between operator and user.

    2. Device Model: Granular maintenance view

    Anyone with even a faint familiarity with EV charging will know that, too often, chargers are out of action. An investigation by Channel 4, a UK public broadcaster, found that over 5.2% of the 26,000 public EV chargers they looked into were broken. That’s 1,352 EV chargers out of action. It may not sound like much, but as pointed out by Tom Gill, imagine “the chaos that would ensue 5.2% of the petrol stations were out of use”.

    The reliability (or, indeed, the unreliability) of chargers is a major hurdle to mass EV adoption. And that’s why the device model use case is so essential. It’s all about maintenance, reducing maintenance costs and charger downtime by exposing the hardware and software components of the station to the backend. It’s as if you put the charger under an MRI scanner to shed light on all its sensor data. This lets the operator remotely operate and diagnose charger issues.

    Chargers can get fixed, even before they break.

    The granular maintenance view of the Device Model in Switch Platform

    The granular maintenance view of the Device Model in Switch Platform

    Slide 2 of 4.

    3. Transactions: Optimising payment

    Efficient and secure payment processes are instrumental in encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles. Transaction handling is simplified via OCPP 2.0.1. The standardised protocols for payment initiation, authorisation and authentication enable a wide range of payment options such as contactless cards, app-based transactions and Plug & Charge (the latter being the most convenient and secure way to start charging).

    It promotes user convenience and allows fair competition among payment services and terminal service providers.

    4. Remote Control: Enhanced charging station management

    OCPP 2.0.1 provides charging station operators with comprehensive remote control capabilities. Operators can remotely start and stop charging sessions, adjust charging power, and monitor real-time status information through a secure and standardised interface.

    This feature enhances operational efficiency, minimises maintenance costs, and guarantees an optimal charging experience for EV owners.

    5. Firmware: Secure updates and upgrades

    Firmware updates are essential to introduce new features and improve system performance. OCPP 2.0.1 streamlines the firmware update process through a standardised mechanism to remotely manage and roll out secure firmware updates across charging stations and networks. Using digital certificates and signatures, the operator can make sure that only verified and trusted software updates are installed on the charger.

    This capability also ensures that charging stations remain up-to-date with the latest advancements and optimisations, enhancing the overall charging experience.

    Secure firmware updates via OCPP 2.0.1 in Switch Platform: Features and system improvements are installed through trusted software validated by digital certificates and signatures

    Secure firmware updates via OCPP 2.0.1 in the Switch Platform: Features and system improvements are installed through trusted software validated by digital certificates and signatures

    6. Charger Logs: Transparency and troubleshooting

    The maintenance of transparency and troubleshooting is vital in a rapidly expanding charging infrastructure. With OCPP 2.0.1, it incorporates the collection and reporting of comprehensive charger logs, facilitating accurate diagnostics and robust procedures, to remedy the issues.

    By utilising these logs, station owners, operators, and maintenance personnel gain invaluable insights into charging station performance, empowering them to address any issues and ensure maximum uptime.

    Impact on the charging landscape

    Adhering to OCPP 2.0.1-certified use cases means charging stations and networks can communicate effectively. And eliminates compatibility concerns for Charge Point Operators (CPOs). You will have the ability to use a variety of vendors from hardware and backend providers without being locked in with a third party. In addition, it means interoperability, increased control and monitoring capabilities, prevent overloads and reduced downtime.

    For EV drivers, it creates a more reliable and efficient charging experience, improved charging station availability and transparent pricing.

    Native support to scale Plug & Charge

    OCPP 2.0.1 offers a more convenient charging experience via Plug & Charge (commonly abbreviated as PnC). OCPP 2.0.1 is the only OCPP version that natively supports ISO 15118 Plug & Charge.

    Currently, the most common way to implement Plug & Charge (on OCPP 1.6 systems) is through custom data, data transfer, and/or backporting 2.0.1 messages. But not every backend or charger supports this - or in the same way. This leads to interoperability issues when networks scale.

    OCPP 2.0.1 makes PnC implementation much more robust. It’s made for it, so to speak. With OCPP 2.0.1 certified backend and hardware, EV charging networks can easily scale in today’s dynamic market.

    So for EV drivers, Plug & Charge means charging an EV becomes a zero-touch experience. There is no driver involvement for authentication or payment. And for CPOs, native support for PnC means you can offer the best charging experience at scale.

    NEVI funding

    Perhaps one of the main drivers (if not the main driver) of interest in OCPP 2.0.1 is the US government’s Nationalmailch Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) programme. NEVI is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which allocates $7.5 billion for EV charging projects: $5 billion for nationwide funding and $2.5 billion anticipated for corridor and community charging grants.

    It’s a big pot of money – and an OCPP 2.0.1 compliant solution like the Switch Platform enhances your eligibility for NEVI. NEVI is designed to promote interoperability, a standardised charging infrastructure, and a greener future. The US Federal Government has outlined its goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

    That’s why OCPP 2.0.1 is required by NEVI for all new installations from February 2024. In short, if you want NEVI funding in the future, you need to make OCPP 2.0.1 your baseline. OCPP enables seamless communication between stations or backends. Even when purchasing hardware from different vendors. And eases the deployment of advanced services across growing charging networks.

    So for US-based charging networks, it is a no-brainer. You can unlock both a better experience for you and your users – and valuable federal funding for expansion.

    Switch's OCPP 2.0.1 certified and compliant system streamlines integration, optimises operations, reduces maintenance costs, and unlocks new revenue streams

    Switch's OCPP 2.0.1 certified and compliant system streamlines integration, optimises operations, reduces maintenance costs, and unlocks new revenue streams

    Slide 1 of 4.

    A game changer for EV charging

    Incorporating OCPP 2.0.1 into your charging infrastructure will alleviate concerns of being compliant and future-proof your networks. It also unlocks potentially lucrative funding pathways, like the NEVI program in the US.

    Then there’s the issue of tenders. More and more public authorities require that public charging stations be ISO 15118/OCP 2.0.1 certified. In other words, the hardware and the software should support an upgrade to these standards. 

    But it’s not just a box-ticking exercise. OCPP 2.0.1 brings exciting advanced capabilities and opportunities for revenue generation across the value chain. And, of course, it delivers huge benefits to your users.

    At Switch, we’re passionate about healing a fragmented charging ecosystem. As such, our system is OCPP 2.0.1 certified and compliant. Our OCPP 2.0.1 certified and compliant system streamlines integration, optimises operations, reduces energy costs, and unlocks new revenue streams. Don’t settle for anything less. 

    Want to transform your charging infrastructure? Get in touch to learn how Switch empowers you and your business. Click the button below.

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    Ben Kegler
    Ben is an experienced expansion specialist who has worked with companies like Cosmic Cat Group, High Mobility, Hubject, and Heimat. At Switch, he devises business strategies and response tactics to shake up the market.
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