Unlocking the Potential of the Electric Vehicle Charging Community

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The launch of the public test environment of the Open Charging Network

By Christopher Burgahn and Brock Lumbers

Despite the fact that the history of electric vehicles has already surpassed 100 years, we still find ourselves in a time with many uncertainties in how electric vehicles will be built, driven and charged. This is because for the first time in humanity, we are moving to a, what we call, “Large-Scale Electric Vehicle Economy”. Millions of electric vehicles on our roads will have a crucial influence on not only the mobility, but also the energy and urban planning sector. 

Certainly, there are many challenges to be tackled in how this Electric Vehicle Economy shall function. Some issues are already resolved, but many are still disagreed upon and even more are not yet discussed at all. However, there is one evident fact that everybody in the industry might be able to agree upon: charging one’s electric vehicle should be as simple as charging one’s smartphone (or even simpler) as this decides how many drivers will make the switch to a battery-enabled car.

In this article we have argued what companies and individuals that are engaged in building this “seamless charging experience” can learn from the creation of the internet. The community behind the development of the internet has made many farsighted decisions that enable the online experience that we are used to today. These decisions can be summarized by the following: An open network as a common playground leads to higher security, resilient infrastructure and, most importantly, kicks off broad innovation.

With the curation of the Open Charging Network (OCN), the non-profit Share&Charge Foundation, follows exactly this vision and applies it to electric vehicle charging. The required baseline for any value-added service in electric vehicle charging, is technical interoperability between electric vehicles and charging assets like charge points (a concept also known as eRoaming). With the OCN, this core functionality becomes simple, efficient and secure. Based on the most recent EV charging protocol OCPI, distributed messaging and distributed ledger technology, it creates a decentralized and open charging network. Additionally, commercial  applications for a seamless, smart and green charging experience are provided on top of the OCN by and for the community, one example being settlement of charging transactions.

Today, we have launched the first public test environment for the OCN in its current state of development. Charge Point Operators, eMobility Service Providers and any other interested parties are invited to connect and test their own electric vehicle charging products against it. Just follow these four simple steps on our Developer Resources page to get started.

How To Use The Public Test Environment

We wish you happy testing. Please do not hesitate to contact us via our Gitter community, to ask questions on Stack Overvflow or to contribute on our Bitbucket repositories.

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