TKI Urban Energy project ECISS:
Emobility Communication & Information System Structure
Partners: Allego, Eneco eMobility, Greenflux, Jedlix, TNO and the coordinator Stichting NKL Nederland (The Netherlands Knowledge Platform for Charging Infrastructure)
ECISS stands for Emobility Communication & Information System Structure, a project financed by the Netherlands TKI Urban Energy – Top Sector Energy. The main aim is to further the development of roaming within the e-mobility sector and to establish a link with smart energy infrastructure and other services. In order to achieve this, ECISS is working on upgrades to OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface).
In the ideal scenario for rapid growth in e-mobility, end-users have absolutely no worries, as EV drivers will have access to a smart, stable, sustainable and accessible energy infrastructure wherever they go. Is this a pipe dream? Certainly not. This is exactly what the ECISS project is working on at the moment.
Market neutral protocol
OCPI is an open information and communication protocol that enables the uniform exchange of data between market players in a clear language. The unique thing about OCPI is that it is market neutral; it was developed by a number of partners on a not-for-profit basis, with the sole objective of facilitating the EV charging market. OCPI has already made around 60,000 charging points available, which makes it the largest protocol in Europe. The partners that use OCPI represent more than 200,000 charge cards, with users from 8 European countries. The Dutch industry association eViolin has reached an agreement with market players whereby they will use OCPI as the standard protocol for communicating with each other.
Desire for optimisation
The most obvious thing to do, therefore, is to build on this already successful protocol. The main aim of all the partners in the project is to create a genuinely smart charging standard through the use of OCPI. For ECISS, smart charging means, at minimum, making smart use of the available energy, so charging as much as possible at the best possible times, when cheap, sustainable energy is available. Clearly, however, smart charging is not the only reason for working together on this project. Price transparency, for example, is a key factor for partners. OCPI must also provide a better connection with the various roaming hubs. A separate hub connection module has now been launched as well. In addition to improved and upgraded functionality for OCPI, it is also important that the architecture of the protocol be optimal, so the protocol is compatible and does not conflict with other standards. It must be clear across the entire architecture what information is available and where it can be found.
Collecting and sharing information
The project primarily focuses on the functionality and architecture of OCPI and the progress that has been made so far. However, the expansion and optimisation of OCPI is not the only purpose of ECISS. The project group is also reviewing the international legislation and regulations that OCPI must comply with, so the protocol can be used in more and more countries without barriers. The market has a significant need for insights around differences in VAT regulations, for example. ECISS can respond to this need. The project is also looking at other topical issues. One of the work groups, for example, is exploring the impact of blockchain on an open protocol like OCPI.
ECISS is not limited to the Netherlands, as confining the project within national borders would be disastrous for the success of the protocol, especially since there are so many opportunities. The Netherlands leads the way in the field of charging infrastructure; for many of our neighbours, what we are doing right now still seems like something from the future. ECISS is a Dutch project with a Dutch grant provider, but it is keen to ensure the active involvement of international partners. Another NKL project, evRoaming4EU, aims to accelerate transparent, international roaming and focuses on cross-border charging. It involves European partners from Germany, Austria and Denmark. Like ECISS, the project is based on OCPI, so the two projects are linked. The aim is to benefit as much as possible from each other’s expertise and experience, by sharing knowledge on regional pilots, for example.
Short-term scenario for EV drivers
ECISS runs until the end of 2019. Returning to our idealistic image of a carefree end-user, what will things be like by 2020? If the upgraded OCPI is implemented by a large number of partners in the charging sector, our end-users will no longer have to search for charging points that are suitable for a specific provider, because they can log into any charging point they come across. The charging world can be compared to the world of telephony in that, whatever your provider, you can use your smartphone anywhere in Europe. Initially, national borders were a barrier for telephony. This must not be the case with EV charging.
Moreover, not only do our EV drivers have to contend with less red tape, they can also save money, because their cars will be charged smartly at the best possible times while they are off the road. This is not just good for financial reasons, but also for the stability of the energy network. Furthermore, thanks to the potential for price transparency, EV drivers can see at a glance how much they will pay at each charging point. As a result, e-mobility will get easier and, as a result, more accessible. It is important to note, however, that the protocol is merely a facilitator. Whether or not all the functions are actually implemented will depend on the market players.
Contribution to energy transition
This specific short-term plan (up to 2020) is actually just an intermediate step. ECISS is also focussing on the somewhat longer term, on the energy transition that will take place between now and 2030. How will the charging infrastructure respond if a large part of our energy supplies were to come from wind and solar power? This will also be discussed at this meeting. A number of partners, both within the ECISS project group and outside it, have ambitions in terms of smart charging. The electric car is regarded as an asset that can also return energy to the grid. There is an opportunity to take smart charging to the next level, enabling it to contribute to the energy transition. At some point in the future, this may become a necessity rather than a wish. If the energy transition is to be accelerated, the grid must be flexible. Having electric vehicles that store energy when they are not being used and that can also return energy to the grid is one of the flexible options that we must exploit. This is not yet necessary for the existing system, but will be within fifteen years. Consequently, this project is about far more than just charging for transport. Transport cannot be seen in isolation, as the energy consumption of transport goes hand in hand with that of homes and businesses.
If all these consumers are heavily dependent on energy sources that do not provide a constant supply, such as wind and solar power, a smart, coherent system must be in place. Protocols prepare us for this future. The aim is to make ECISS part of the solution.
TKI Urban Energy project
ECISS is one of the projects supported by the Netherlands TKI Urban Energy. TKI Urban Energy develops energy innovations to enable a rapid transition to a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system in the built environment and infrastructure. ECISS will receive support from TKI Urban Energy until the end of 2019, but is also focussing on the longer term, on the energy transition that will take place between now and 2030. For more information on projects, go to TKI Urban Energy programme areas.
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