Nov 1, 2023

Over the past decade, EV charging has evolved from having just one or two providers in each region to a complex network within networks. These dizzying acronyms often cause confusion. Before introducing OCPI and other EV charging roaming protocols, here's some helpful terminology:

CPO - Charge Point Operator

CPOs manage and maintain smart EV charging stations. They supply the essential technology for EV charger interaction, encompassing everything from initiating a simple charging session to executing complex grid demand-response commands.

EMSP/MO - eMobility Service Provider / Mobility Operator

EMSPs facilitate user access to EV charging stations. While their role might seem close to that of a CPO, and indeed many CPOs double as EMSPs, they are distinct entities. For instance, in North America, major EMSPs like EVgo and Electrify America don't directly operate as CPOs. Instead, they engage other companies to manage the technological aspects of their EV charger networks.

OEM - Electric Vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturer

EV Original Equipment manufacturer, responsible for the software/hardware Plug&Charge implementation in the EV.

DSO - Distribution System Operator

DSOs, unlike CPOs and EMSPs, don't inherently focus on EV charging operations, though they may opt to. Their primary role is to manage (and sometimes own) the networks for energy distribution. Depending on the specific region, the local DSO might be an electric utility company, a local distribution company (LDC), or an independent system operator (ISO).

It's noteworthy that these roles are not singular; a Charge Point Operator (CPO) can also be an E-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP), and an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) can be both CPO and EMSP, like Tesla.