Standardised Communication Protocols for EV charging

The number of EVs available for aggregation increases the flexibility of the power grid. Power system stakeholders have an interest in promoting transport electrification and ensuring that EVs, EVSEs, and the power system use the same communication protocols.
Standardisation and interoperability could boost the adoption of electric vehicles by allowing owners of different models to use a variety of charging stations. This could also increase consumer choice by making controlled charging and bill reduction available regardless of the vehicle type chosen. This would result in a higher level of aggregation for the electricity system’s provision of grid services.

Common communication protocols are necessary to promote interoperability. Protocols help standardise command and data flow. Some of the essential procedures for vehicle-grid integration include:

  • ISO/IEC 15118 facilitates communication between the EV and the EVSE. It sends charging parameters based on user needs and the charging profiles from the CPO. The latest update includes protocols for bidirectional charging.
  • CHAdeMO is a protocol originally developed in Japan that accompanies its specific CHAdeMO plug, allowing physical bidirectional DC charging.
  • IEC 61850 is a group of standards defining communication protocols for intelligent electronic devices at substations. It is a foundational standard for smart grids.
  • Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) communicates smart charging features, such as grid capacity, energy prices, local supply of sustainable energy, and user preferences. It is currently being incorporated into IEC 63110 to establish a regular international technical standard.
  • Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) supports connections between electric mobility service providers and CPOs, allowing EV users to access different charging points and streamline payments across jurisdictional borders. This helps support EV uptake through roaming. OCPI supports the most functionalities, including smart charging, among different roaming protocols. It is commonly used in the European Union.
  • Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) communicates price and event messages between the utility and connected distributed energy resources for the purpose of demand-side management. It focuses on exchanging information, whereas OCPP has more emphasis on control. OpenADR has a wide adoption across the globe.
  • IEEE 2030.5 enables utility management of distributed energy resources, such as electric vehicles, through demand response, load control and time-of-day pricing. It is commonly used in California.
  • Open Smart Charging Protocol (OSCP) communicates predictions of locally available capacity to charging station operators. The current version contains use cases with more generic terms to allow integration of solar PVs, batteries and other devices. However, the use of OSCP is still limited.

Consistent communication protocols between EVSEs and the power grid are essential, and controlled charging actors make this possible. To facilitate interoperability when crossing international boundaries, a worldwide standardisation of communication protocols, including those between EVs and EVSEs, is now being worked on.

Standardised communication protocols have system-wide advantages, but unreliable protocols without authentication or encryption may open doors for hackers. Policymakers should carry out a cybersecurity assessment and prepare a strategy for charging operations mitigation measures.

Source: Grid Integration of Electric Vehicles | IEA

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Diagram illustrating the vehicle-grid integration ecosystem and communication protocols. It shows various entities such as Power System, CPO, EMSP, EVSE, Roaming Platform, EV, and OEM, and their communication protocols like IEEE 2030.5, OpenADR, OCPP, and others.
Vehicle-grid integration ecosystem and communication protocols source: IEA
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