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Upgrading Your Software as a Charge Point Operator

It’s been less than 15 years since the first public chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) were installed in the United States. In that time, the industry has seen steady growth, which is accelerating as countries around the world set goals for mass EV adoption.
Closeup of an electric car charging

For charge point operators (CPOs), staying up to date with the latest tech developments and regulatory standards is crucial. Especially when it comes to upgrading their EV charger management software to add new features and maintain compliance with standards like Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)

That’s why some CPOs are turning to open source software to future-proof the upgrade process.

Charge point operator software struggles

The EV industry is still young, which means that many components are in their first or second iteration. Since 2010, when the first public chargers were installed in the U.S., the number of EVs on the road has grown from a few thousand to nearly 2.5 million. In that time, EV charger management software has gained new requirements for scale, security and interoperability. But upgrading this software can be time consuming and costly depending on how it was originally built, a company’s reliance on vendors, and evolving standards.

Proprietary software

Given the lack of standardization around EV charging to date, the majority of chargers run on proprietary charger management software. In addition to holding back innovation in the industry, this siloed approach to the development of software can make it harder to upgrade and meet evolving standards. 

Reliance on vendors

The creation and upkeep of software are often inextricably linked to vendors, leaving CPOs dependent on a third party’s timeline and fees. This can result in high costs to maintain and upgrade software and even periods of downtime, which reflect poorly on network operators and the business at large.

Compliance with industry standards

EV charger management software must meet the latest industry standards. Currently, this means updating systems to reflect OCPP 2.0.1, which mandates compatibility between chargers and backend software to streamline the charging and payment processes and provide real-time monitoring and error detection to better identify maintenance needs and reduce downtime. 

The open source answer for EV charging network operators

As a result of these challenges, many CPOs have yet to upgrade their software to support OCPP 2.0.1. Nevertheless, the time to upgrade to 2.0.1 is now and it offers significant advantages in comparison to the previous version, OCPP 1.6. Not to mention, 2.0.1 compliance is required for CPOs who want government funds from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program

Rather than remain tethered to proprietary solutions, CPOs are now utilizing S44’s open source software, CitrineOS, to ease the transition to OCPP 2.0.1 and future iterations.

The community mindset that underpins open source means that multiple developers and CPOs contribute to the development and advancement of the software. This streamlines software upgrades and OCPP compliance, which is necessary to support EV growth for the next 15 years and beyond.

Learn more about using CitrineOS for OCPP 2.0.1 compliance and easier upgrades here.

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Olga Haygood
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