New charging protocol could bring Supercharger-style convenience to more electric cars
For Tesla drivers, charging on the road is a straightforward process—you just plug into a Supercharger, and it starts charging. Authentication and billing happen automatically. The unfortunate users of other fast charging networks typically have to log in to initiate charging, and sometimes it’s even necessary to stick a credit card into a reader (that’s so 2019).
Above: A Porsche Taycan charging while using the Plug & Charge protocol (Source: Virta)
However, help is on the way. Plug & Charge (which, ironically for a system designed to enable interoperability, is also referred to as “Plug&Charge,” “Plug and Charge” and perhaps other variants) is a new system that enables EVs from any manufacturer to initiate charging automatically, with no need for a membership card or smartphone app.
Now Hubject, the developer of an eRoaming platform that allows drivers to use charging stations from different networks in Europe, has published an independent protocol to standardize the developing Plug & Charge ecosystem.
Hubject’s Open Plug & Charge Protocol (OPCP) is designed to increase compatibility between all market participants and to standardize shared usage options. By publishing the standard, Hubject hopes to “empower software engineers and EV charging experts to focus on developing customer-oriented, easy-to-use EV charging solutions.”
“The rapidly growing market for Plug & Charge results in a range of very different processes from different manufacturers,” says Hubject. “Unhindered access without lock-in effects will be an essential criterion for Charging Station Operators and Mobility Service Providers offering charging solutions.”
The publication is based on Hubject’s Plug & Charge ecosystem, a software solution for connecting companies offering services based on ISO 15118 that has been in place since 2018. Hubject says numerous EV manufacturers and charging providers have launched services based on this solution.
Hubject calls OPCP an efficient tool for pool usages such as Contract Certificate Pool (CCP) and Root Certificate Pool (RCP). Hubject’s Open Plug & Charge Testing system enables companies to test their own Plug & Charge implementations.
“As part of our commitment to open source and open communities, we’re proud to publish our Open Plug & Charge Protocol to help all software engineers and market stakeholders to embrace Plug & Charge as a [foundation] for great customer experience without facing any risk of a technical lock-in effect,” said Hubject’s CEO Christian Hahn.