The rather steep uptake in electric vehicles can be observed across all the transportation branches at a fairly constant rate. To match the pace of this new era, it is crucial that market players communicate and work together in order for there to be an accessible environment. EV Roaming can help create open infrastructure by providing seamless access between cars equipped with wireless charging capabilities or electric batteries as well as those without such technology through mobile phone networks which would allow them roam free at any time.
With contributors from all over the world, up-to-date solutions for any participant are an absolute must to ensure high levels of interoperability. This is why open standards play such a crucial role in this industry's growth and continued expansion into new markets. The global eMobility market has seen rapid developments thanks largely to open networking capabilities that provide equal opportunities across borders
On our blog, we have covered quite a lot on the topic already. Some of the articles are:
- EV roaming with open standards - OCPI and OCHP
- EV roaming with open standards - OICP and eMIP
- OCPP migration
- OCPI 2.2.1 - what's new?
- Open Charge Point Protocol
Open standards, however, are not the only reason behind the galloping of the whole industry. New technologies, like smart charging are nourishing the business just as much and are, to a great extent, responsible for the significant growth. We’ve launched a comprehensive PDF on smart charging, that can be downloaded here:
With the ever-growing popularity of electric vehicles, one must remember that the industry’s responsibilities grow linearly. As the charging infrastructure expands, conscious steps need to be taken in terms of its impact on the grid. Smart charging plays quite a role here.
As much as some of the open protocols cover in fact a lot of smart charging functionalities, one primarily stands out. Open Smart Charging Protocol is designed to “collaborate” with the grid on a much more advanced level.
Open Smart Charging Protocol - the introduction
OSCP was established by Open Charge Alliance, the same company that runs the OCPP protocol. So far, OSPC has been launched in two versions. The first one, OSCP 1.0 was officially released in 2015, meanwhile its successor, OSCP 2.0 in 2020.
The major difference between the two versions is that the latter has been amended in terms of the terminology used in the specification documents so that it would fit a broader range of audience. The changes also included an architecture revision.
In general, OSCP enables communication between the charge point and the energy management system or a DSO system. That way it can be integrated not only by the EV side but also by the energy suppliers. The core function of OSCP is that it is able to communicate a 24h forecast of the grid capacity to the Charge Point Operator, who can then adjust the charging profiles to create the most optimal EV charging energy demand, without overloading the grid.
Why does it matter?
Passive charging (aka the charging that occurs when any charger is working at its maximum capacity, no matter the demand’s condition) may theoretically pose a threat to the energy grid and impose steep electricity prices in cases when the demand already runs very high. The spike in prices is strictly related to the need for enlarged electricity input to match the increased demand, and what comes with it, the extended energy production, which is costly. Such a scenario also negatively impacts the “cleanliness” of electric vehicles as with the higher energy production, the emissions increase.
Smart charging seeks to respond to the above issue by an appropriate maneuvering of the energy intake and outtake in order to achieve a satisfactory equilibrium. Given the drastic changes undergoing throughout the entire energy sector it is vital that eMobility (being an integral part of it) matches the innovatory trend.
OSCP - how does it work?
Given OSCP 2.0 is the leading version, we will focus on its specifications.
The creators of Open Smart Charging Protocol have introduced a well-specified domain model to serve as the grounding behind the entire specification. In the picture, there are:
- Flexibility resource: a device (i.e.: EV, battery-run devices, heat pumps, etc.) that can consume energy in a controlled manner. The flexibility here adheres to either time or amount of energy that is consumed or generated
- Flexibility provider: a unit that controls the flexibility resources (i.e. Charge Point Operators). The control mechanisms are not specified by OSCP
- Capacity provider: a unit that manages certain energy network (i.e. DSO aka Distribution System Operator or EMS aka Energy Management System). It imposes boundaries to the flexibility providers, but does not have a direct access to the control of flexibility resources.
The OSCP also leaves room for a fourth player - Capacity Optimizer whose role is to support flexibility providers in ensuring the most optimal solutions.
As stated before, the main function of OSCP is to provide a 24h forecast of the grid capacity to the Charge Point Operator. The way this works in the above-mentioned setting is that a Capacity Provider informs the Flexibility Provider of foreseeable events and potential predictions in terms of the grid’s capacity. There are few types of forecasts mentioned in the OSCP documentation. Below, the quote:
- “Consumption Capacity (CC) - specifies for the given time interval the maximum total amount of capacity that the group of Flexibility Resources can consume
- Generation Capacity (GC) - specifies for the given time interval the maximum total amount of capacity that the group of Flexibility Resources can generate
- Fallback Consumption Capacity (FC) - specifies the maximum total amount of capacity that can be consumed in island mode, i.e. when the Flexibility Provider and the Capacity Provider have lost connection
- Fallback Generation Capacity (FGC) - specifies the maximum amount of capacity that can be produced in island mode, i.e. when the Flexibility Provider and the Capacity Provider have lost connection
- Optimum (O) - ) specifies for the given time interval the Optimum amount to be generated or consumed.”
OSCP allows for the communication between involved parties. That is, when a Flexibility Provider requires more/less energy, it can issue a specific request via the ‘AdjustGroupCapacityForecast’ message. Based on the received information, the Capacity Provider then acts accordingly if possible. In cases when there is no option of adjusting the energy flow, a ‘GroupCapacityComplianceError’ is sent to notify all involved parties.
Open Smart Charging Protocol also precisely states the rules and important issues behind the connection of all the involved parties. This entails the registration, connecting and handling connection issues. The registration (meaning registering endpoints) consists of the creation of a unique token to use for authentication in order for the parties to connect to one another. Then connecting is facilitated via “handshaking”. This mechanism allows for expressing the preferences to one another. OSCP also presumes the possibility of detecting whether a certain party remains offline for the time being and it is enabled via the heartbeat mechanism.
Please note, that this is a brief introduction into the OSCP, the full documentation with all the features listed and explained can be downloaded from Open Charge Alliance official website.
OSCP - the summary
Open Charge Alliance did a solid work in creating a protocol allowing for such communication. Even if there’s still room for improvement and it’ll take some time for OSCP to be implemented on a large scale, its biggest benefit lies in the fact that the protocol (in the second version; after the changes) can be used either well for EV-related cases or for others who fall under the energy control spectrum.
The global energy system is a vast and complex network that supplies energy to homes and businesses across the entire planet. It includes everything from power plants and transmission lines to distribution systems and end-use customers. With that in mind, open protocols enabling smooth information exchange are beyond important in ensuring seamless operation.