Future-proof charging infrastructure: the most important norms and interfacesFuture-proof charging infrastructure: the most important norms and interfaces

Munich/Zurich, 16 December 2020

The future of mobility is electric. But the environmentally friendly and quiet electric cars need to be recharged before the journey. To ensure that charging is quick and safe and seamlessly integrated into the local energy supply, countless processes run in the background. Open and standardized interfaces between the vehicle, charging station and back-end as well as energy management systems guarantee that charging infrastructure can grow and constantly improve with the increasing success of electric mobility. This way a future-proof charging infrastructure is guaranteed. Reason enough to dedicate a series to these invisible helpers.

In a blog series, The Mobility House, the technology company and solution provider for everything to do with charging, explains which interfaces and standards are important for the market and what is generally important to know and observe.

The seventh and final part of the series summarizes the most important standards and interfaces.

The importance of standards and interfaces for future-proof charging and the power grid

All industries create standards. A standard sets requirement for products, services or procedures, creates clarity and specifications regarding their characteristics and functions, and ensures high quality that is internationally comparable in economics, technology, science, and administration. Standards increase convenience and facilitate safety, not only for people but also for property. And this is also the case in the electric mobility sector. Harmonized industrial standards and specifications form the basis of electric mobility.

The three most important standards

In the series on future-proof charging infrastructure certain standards that make charging electric vehicles more user-friendly, efficient, and safe were introduced. The three most important ones for the most common applications in everyday electric car use are as follows:

  • The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is the most common communication protocol between charging stations and the backend system. The installation of OCPP-certified hardware is one of the key factors in setting up future-proof charging infrastructure. In particular, it must be ensured that the protocol is implemented for everything (all functionalities), not only the core. This includes the core, firmware management, smart charging, reservation, local authorization list management, and remote trigger.
  • ISO 15118 is a common language of charging stations and electric cars. The standard governs wired and wireless charging, both in normal AC wallboxes and DC charging stations. Edition 2, which will soon be released, is considered a key element for multiple innovative technologies, such as the grid-friendly, bidirectional charging (also referred to as V2G).
  • An energy management interface (e.g. via Modbus) enables cost-efficient and smooth integration of charging infrastructure into existing installations of companies, hotels, and larger buildings and controls how the charging points interact with large consumers such as air-conditioning units, canteens, heavy equipment, PV inverters, and energy storage systems.

Continuous development

As this series of articles has shown, there are various other harmonized industrial standards and specifications. They are being continuously developed as needed and are responsible for further cost reductions arising from increased standardization – particularly when their status is lifted to that of international and worldwide industrial standards such as IEC and ISO. Insight gained from experience with the open communication protocol OCPP (the leading protocol in the sector), for example, is likely to have a considerable influence on the development of the international standard IEC 63110, which is currently being put together. This will serve to make electric mobility even more appealing, as it will give drivers of electric cars an increasing number of charging stations where they can easily charge their vehicles, within an international and interoperable system.

Work is already underway on certain additional innovative interfaces. EEBUS, for instance, is increasingly becoming the universal language of energy management in buildings (smart home/business), enabling communication with individual consumers in households and buildings (smart home), such as photovoltaic systems, stationary storage systems, heaters, and electric cars. 

The Mobility House & open interfaces and standards

The Mobility House fundamentally supports the approach of open interfaces and standardization. Its hardware-agnostic-neutral Charging and Energy Management system ChargePilot, developed in-house, is therefore open and compatible with conventional industry standards. The Mobility House is also working toward efficient use of energy, for example by avoiding load peaks and grid bottlenecks in the charging of electric cars and by using V2G to integrate electric cars into the power grid to level out fluctuations in power generation.