You don't need a membership to fill your fossil-fuel-powered car at a gas station, so it is kind of odd that you need to belong to a particular club to juice up at some EV charging stations. The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) went public today with the message that plug-in vehicle drivers deserve better.

The OCA officially declared itself an entity today in San Diego, CA, but the ideas that drive the group have been worked on for years. Originally called the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) Forum and mostly active in Europe, the OCA builds upon the OCPP technology and message and invites new members to join. The benefit to charging station companies, OCA says, is that there are no costs or licensing fees to join as the OCA builds and promotes an, "open, flexible EV charging networks for the next wave of EV adoption worldwide." The OCA's key argument, taken from the press release available below, is that:

The biggest challenge facing the adoption of EVs today is no longer related to "range anxiety," but rather stems from access limitations to the public charging stations that line our highways, streets and communities. Many of these early stations are accessible only via proprietary, subscription-based networks. Unfortunately, the closed nature of these networks has generated deep frustration for both EV drivers, who expect the same accessibility that they enjoy at the gasoline pump, as well as charge station owners, who as a result of proprietary protocols are locked into a network system that prevents them from making changes as their needs evolve or price points get too high.

OCA says that in the European countries where its open standard has been adopted, charging station owners "can mix and match open standards-based charging stations and choose a network provider that meets their business requirements and provides the best charging experience for their EV driver customers."Currently, groups like ABB, Eaton, ESB, E-laad and Greenlots are in the OCA, but the California-based announcement hints that OCA is interested in getting some of the more-familiar charging companies in the US on board. The Alliance says it has over 10,000 stations around the world that use its open standard, which is being updated to version 2.0. Can we get a few more?
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Open Charge Alliance to Electric Vehicle Industry: "We're at a crossroads -- Open or Closed Networks?"
OCPP Forum Expands its Mission, Welcomes Existing and New Members to Support Open Standard Networks for Charging Electric Vehicles


SAN DIEGO, Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Charge Alliance, a global consortium of public and private electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure leaders with more than 10,000 installations worldwide, today announced its charter and issued a call for new international members. Initially formed as the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) Forum, the newly named Open Charge Alliance counts ABB, Eaton, ESB, E-laad, Greenlots and others as existing members and maintains the original mission of the OCPP Forum – to further develop OCPP and related interoperability standards. The Alliance has generated broad industry consensus behind OCPP and will build on that to promote and enable open, flexible EV charging networks for the next wave of EV adoption worldwide. Multiple levels of Open Charge Alliance membership are available; please read more and join us here: www.OpenChargeAlliance.com.

"For the past several years we have promoted the benefits of OCPP in order to make EV networks accessible. In that short amount of time, OCPP has become the accepted protocol in 50 countries and over 10,000 stations," said Onoph Caron, founding member of the Open Charge Alliance and director of E-laad. "The enduring nature of OCPP-an open protocol with no cost or licensing barriers to adoption-has given it a strong foothold and deep relevance in Europe and other markets."

The biggest challenge facing the adoption of EVs today is no longer related to "range anxiety," but rather stems from access limitations to the public charging stations that line our highways, streets and communities. Many of these early stations are accessible only via proprietary, subscription-based networks. Unfortunately, the closed nature of these networks has generated deep frustration for both EV drivers, who expect the same accessibility that they enjoy at the gasoline pump, as well as charge station owners, who as a result of proprietary protocols are locked into a network system that prevents them from making changes as their needs evolve or price points get too high. There is, however, a better way. In many European countries where open standards have been adopted, site owners can mix and match open standards-based charging stations and choose a network provider that meets their business requirements and provides the best charging experience for their EV driver customers.

OCPP 2.0
The Open Charge Alliance will release the next version of OCPP in the coming weeks. OCPP v2.0 features a more efficient, modern transport, while new messages supporting pricing, smart charging, and charging station health and maintenance, including device event notification and statistical reports. OCA is currently developing a process for OCPP v2.0 compliancy and interoperability, in parallel with the last phase of protocol specification.

"If we listen to EV drivers and site hosts in markets like the U.S., which began as closed, proprietary charging networks, we have a clear take away-open and accessible networks are critical for the next wave of EV adoption," said Brett Hauser, founding member of the Open Charge Alliance and president of Greenlots. "The success of OCPP in Europe and its growing adoption in North America position it as the de facto platform for the next wave of EV adoption."

Join the Open Charge Alliance
In response to this challenge, members of the Open Charge Alliance are further developing OCPP to provide a powerful, open and interoperable charge station-to-network communication protocol which supports all the functionality needed by today's advanced charge management systems. The Open Charge Alliance members represent a broad range of interests in the EV sector including government organizations, utilities, charge point vendors and site operators. Founding members of the Open Charge Alliance are the E-laad foundation (Netherlands), Greenlots (North America), and ESB (Ireland). OCA members see the global benefits of open EV standards:

"The Open Charge Alliance is focused on interoperability standards and is promoting what we believe to be the optimal platform for all global EV stakeholders," said Joost van Abeelen, Product Manager, Connected Services EV Charging, ABB.

"Eaton's commitment to providing customers flexible, innovative solutions has made it a global leader in electrical systems. This is a commitment we share with the Open Charge Alliance and what motivated us to become a member," said John Wirtz, Business Unit Manager, Electrical Transportation Infrastructure, Eaton Corporation. "Leveraging the industry's de facto open standard protocol, our customers are able to mix and match their choice of chargers, while ensuring they have a robust platform to control and manage their sites."

"Simply put, OCPP has emerged as the best solution for EVSE management. Since 2011, we have relied on OCPP for the high level of interoperability it ensures between European networks and now all DBT-CEV Charging Points are OCPP compliant. Acting as a catalyst for E-mobility development across Europe, OCPP promises to become the de facto global standard with massive adoption by all players," said Vienney Devienne, Sales Director, DBT.

About Open Charge Alliance
The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) is a global consortium of public and private electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure leaders that have come together with a single goal in mind: to further the adoption of the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). Designed to ensure interoperability standards that will guide open and flexible EV networks worldwide, OCPP is the accepted protocol of choice in 50 countries and over 10,000 charging stations, providing accessibility, compliance and uniform communications between charging stations and management systems. Please join our growing global membership base: www.OpenChargeAlliance.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a crock. I signed up for ChargePoint in under 2 minutes. Ooooo, I can see where people are 'Deeply Frustrated!' Give me a break!
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      Joeviocoe: I am aware of the internet. But the problem is, I begin my trip when there are chargers available within walking distance of my destination. Then, when I get there an hour later (my car has about 60-70 miles range), there is no longer a charger available. Now what? Like I said, unless you can reserve a charger, it's difficult to make a trip which requires you use an L2 charger to get home.
      Randy C
      • 1 Year Ago
      The practice of charging for public level 2 charging is a fundamentally flawed business plan. I do 99% of my charging in my driveway. Blink's plan for example was for me to charge wherever I stopped. Level 2 takes to long to get any miles built up, 4 hours or more. Another problem was the Blink billing structure. With only full hour billing increments I had to plan each usage to be 59 to 64 minutes long in order to get full value. Stopping and charging at a local hardware store for 10 minutes while I pick up some nails and paying for a full hour makes it not worth it. I see a lot of these public charging companies getting into trouble in the future. Trying to make money from the public using the charging stations is a fantasy. There will not be enough traffic to even pay for the billing. Public Level 2 charging has a limited application mostly in the area of employee parking where you get to work and will be there for 4-8 hours. Very few places do you stop long enough to get even half a charge. Only public quick charging has a future. Waiting for 20 minutes is doable and easy if you can go get a cup of coffee.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Randy C
        Why would you charge for 10 minutes? Even at 6.6kW you'd only add 2.5 miles. With the 3.3kW limit now, you'd only add 1.25. And all for taking an extra 5 minutes to park a little further away so you can charge? Seems like a waste of time and money to me. If you're worried enough to plan your life in exactly 59-64 minutes chunks to save a dollar, then I think there is nothing Blink could do to get your business. You're too much of a cheapskate for them. I agree level 2 isn't that useful in small chunks. It could work at a movie or a long meal as well as while at work or an all-day function. But the problem is that it's hard to know there will be an L2 charger available when you get there. The only way to be sure of that is for there to be a lot of L2 chargers and then the overpopulation means each charger makes even less money per day, making it even harder to make money. Most people, since they cannot be sure of getting an L2 charger at their destination simply will take very few trips where they count on using a public L2 charger at their destination. They instead will only take trips where they have enough juice to get home. And if you have enough juice to get home, that usually means you won't bother charging at the destination unless it is really, really cheap (maybe free). So barring some kind of improvements on this situation like being able to reserve an L2 charger for a longer trip, I think L2 has big problems, just as you say. DCFC just works a lot better, the chargers are usually available because cars aren't parked at them for 4 hours, and you can use one on your way to your destination (or the way back) instead of having to find one within walking distance of your destination as you have to do with L2.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          --" But the problem is that it's hard to know there will be an L2 charger available when you get there. The only way to be sure of that is for there to be a lot of L2 chargers" No, that is what the Internet is for. Most Plugins should be capable of navigation telemetrics to download charger locations and availability. And if the car doesn't included... your smartphone will.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey, San Diego-based group: California already passed a law about this. Membership cannot be required for public chargers. How did you not know? Oh. I see, it's not that you didn't know. It's that you are trying to push your standard. It's not so much you care about the consumer, it's that you care that the consumer pays using your system. You want to being the VISA/Mastercard of EV charging. Well, thanks for the ad Vienney Devienne, Sales Director, DBT.