Follow this series of six posts highlighting content from the European Parking Association (EPA), presented by EPA President Nigel Williams. Nigel joins some of the EPA’s data experts and other thought leaders to bring you this content, published by EPA in September 2023, offering insight into the EPA’s data initiatives and highlighting the importance, value, and use of parking data, and shining a spotlight on the Alliance for Parking Data Standards (APDS).
Part 3: OCPI – Supercharging the EV Market
One important dataset that needs to be on the National Access Points (NAPs) is the crucial information about where EV charge points are located and their charging capabilities. This information is essential to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles.
At the same time, there are numerous stakeholders working across the EV infrastructure, so finding a way to bring information to a point where data exchange is simple for everyone concerned is essential if motorists are to have a smooth journey.
The Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) specification is an industry standard that has been developed and deployed to support data exchange between interested commercial parties involved in the use of charge points for energy supply to EVs.5 It primarily focuses on information exchange between charge point operators and e-mobility service providers. The specification supports authorization, charge point information exchange (including live status updates and transaction events), charge detail record exchange, remote charge point commands, and the exchange of smart-charging commands between parties.
Transportation and IT consultant Jonathan Harrod Booth explains the importance of readily available information, “Understanding where charge points are, which networks are providing them, their physical characteristics in terms of the types of connectors available, and the maximum (electrical) charge rates are important for customer choice. As an EV user, when out on the road I need to access information services and apps to identify where opportunities exist to charge my EV. Protocols such as OCPI are a critical means to access this information, which many of these apps and information services use. Without an industry specification such as OCPI, information about the location, facilities, and status of charge points would probably be network- or supplier-specific, and difficult to access by the traveling public.’
The use of common protocols, such as OCPI, makes it significantly easier for the EV charge point industry to support EV roaming – that is, using different locations and networks to be able to recharge an EV. The information can then be made available through information services and apps to enable EV drivers to get the widest view on where charge point opportunities exist.
Jonathan says the industry is evolving – and with more and more people opting for EVs, it has to. “As a consumer, I want the flexibility to search for and pay for parking that APDS-enabled solutions have the potential to offer. In the UK, the UK’s National Parking Platform (NPP) pilot is illustrating this flexibility, with four local authorities now supporting multivendor parking payments, where customers can pay using one of several app-based parking services. NPP is based on the APDS specification. The same evolution of service is likely to occur with EV charging services. Having interoperability between services to pay for parking and those to pay for EV charging is obvious. Therefore, the specifiers of OCPI and APDS need to take steps to enable the two specifications to work smoothly together.”
Aside from consumer confidence and convenience, Jonathan points out some other benefits to interoperability between OCPI and APDS. “There will be better opportunities for combined and integrated customer services, including payment, and an improved ability to search for parking facilities with EV charging – and understand the combined cost. There will also be the creation of commercial opportunities for parking and EV charge providers to become the customer’s single point of contact for combined services.”