Not to be confused with the EV charger communication protocol OCPP, OCPI stands for Open Charge Point Interface. OCPI allows for automated roaming between various EV charging networks.
This page is focused on EV charging networks and roaming in the United States and Canada. While the principals are universal, the players and protocols vary in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
This is page is also technical, written primarily for members of the EV charging industry. For any questions about the topics discussed here, you can always get in touch with our team.
In the past decade, EV charging has come a long way from one or two providers in each geography to an intricate network of "networks". Before introducing OCPI and other EV charging roaming protocols, here's some helpful terminology:
Charge Point Operator (CPO): CPOs connect and operate smart EV chargers. They provide the technology needed to interact with EV chargers. This includes everything from a simple "start charge" request to complicated demand-response commands from the grid.
e-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP, eMSP, or EMP): EMSPs provide end-user access to EV chargers. This sounds very similar to a CPO — and many CPOs are also EMSPs — but not always. In North America, EVgo and Electrify America are two of the largest EMSPs, but they are not CPOs themselves — they hire other companies to provide the technology needed to operate their networks of EV chargers.
Distribution System Operator (DSO): Unlike CPOs and EMSPs, DSOs are not in the EV charging business by definition — but they may choose to be. DSOs are responsible operating (and sometimes owning) energy distribution networks. Depending on your province or state, your local DSO could be an electric utility, a local distribution company (LDC), or an independent system operator (ISO).
Below is a breakdown of the most active North American CPOs, EMSPs, and DSOs from an EV charging perspective. This list is far from comprehensive. It is simply meant to show the types of players and how they interact.
As you can tell from the section above, EV charging is a complex landscape with a variety of players contributing as CPOs, EMSPs, and/or DSOs.
At the end of the day, ChargeLab and our competitors all share a common goal: to make it easier for everyone to charge their electric cars at home, at work, and in public. This is what roaming protocols like OCPI are for. OCPI allows end-users to use EV chargers managed by one CPO even if they are using an app built by a different CPO or EMSP.
Our back-end system is designed to roam seamlessly with any other EV charging network using OCPI. Currently, ChargeHub users can find and pay for ChargeLab EV chargers thanks to OCPI. We are eager to integrate with additional networks in North America, so check back on this page soon for more updates.
OCPI is published and managed by the EVRoaming Foundation. You can learn more about OCPI on their website: https://evroaming.org/
This page focuses on OCPI as it is currently the most popular EV charging roaming protocol in North America. There are competing EV charging roaming protocols that are bigger in Europe, some of which show promise for the future of roaming in North America. We suggest reading E-Mobility Simplified's Roaming Basics 101 and Roaming Basics 102 articles to learn more.
ChargeLab is actively integrating with new OCPI roaming partners. Contact us to learn more.Contact us
ChargeLab's back-office was designed to be open & interoperable from day 1.
We are currently deploying at thousands of new tier 1 sites, making us the ideal partner as your next roaming integration.