ECISS is an umbrella project with two key objectives: further development of roaming in the EV sector; and harmonization of charging infrastructure and smart energy infrastructure. To achieve these objectives, ECISS is participating in the development of the independent OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface) protocol. To encompass the broad scope of the two key objectives, ECISS has a modular structure, with separate working groups focusing on separate component tasks, while maintaining mutual contact. See below for descriptions of the project and its constituent parts.
ECISS quick facts
- ECISS stands for Emobility Communication & Information System Structure. The project started in January 2018.
- The ECISS project is financed by TKI Urban Energy, which develops and supports energy innovations that advance rapid transition towards a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system in the built environment and infrastructure.
- ECISS is a Dutch project with international interests, and to this end engages in exchange with the evRoaming4EU project, through which stakeholders from the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Austria have joined forces to accelerate progress towards a transparent international roaming service evRoaming4EU is also based on OCPI.
Why is ECISS an umbrella project?
ECISS brings together stakeholders from the entire EV chain. The charging market is complex due to the number of types of participating stakeholder: Charge Point Operators are responsible for the technical and administrative management of charge points; Mobility Service Providers supply contracts to consumers for EV-related services; and Distribution System Operators design, operate and maintain the power grid. All these stakeholders will benefit from the key objectives of ECISS, but they do not necessarily share the same interests or standpoints. Each stakeholder is concerned with its own links in the chain. That’s why ECISS is an umbrella project, through which all stakeholders can exchange ideas, insights and visions. Their collaboration is essential for progress to take place.
Why does ECISS have these two key objectives?
For most supply chain stakeholders wanting to offer new, high-quality services, it is important to be able to exchange data with each other and to be able to use each other’s network. Roaming allows the EV user access to all public charge points, irrespective of their choice of Mobility Service Provider.
Roaming requires development in the areas of scalability support and continued revenue model development, both within and outside the EV sector – for example with respect to support for smart charging, price transparency, security, and privacy.
The ongoing development of roaming services is having a twofold effect: on the one hand the exchange of data is becoming increasingly fluid; on the other hand, increasing volumes of data are becoming available. The desire to improve roaming is shared not only by those stakeholders directly engaged with EV charging, but also by those stakeholders operating in other areas of electrical infrastructure and offering other services to the EV user. It is of fundamental importance to energy suppliers and national grid operators to know when there will be peaks in demand on the network, and improved stability can be achieved by, for example, offering price incentives to the EV user to charge at an alternative time. A good charging infrastructure makes a positive contribution to a smart energy infrastructure. That’s why ECISS is emphatically broad in scope.
Transparent data accessible to all stakeholders
Information is exchanged by a variety of systems throughout the charging infrastructure chain. Examples include data exchange between charge point operators and service providers, and between service providers and EV users. Each stakeholder and each system has its own unique approach and if they are to communicate with each other it is essential to establish a uniform system of data exchange. OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface) makes this possible. Timely deliberation on the technical means through which the systems operated by market actors, service providers and EV users communicate with one another will support the processes involved in implementing future systems. The privacy and data security of users of the platform is growing in importance; new legislation and regulations have brought these matters increasingly to the fore, and they are important aspects of OCPI.
Transparent data available to EV users
Currently, most EV users receive a monthly summary of their charging sessions through their contracted Mobility Service Provider. But EV users are asking for more. In today’s digital world they expect to receive real-time information on a wide range of activities, from how far they have jogged to how much electricity they have used on a particular day. Similar demands are being made for information relating to charging sessions. Users naturally want access to information on the location and availability of the nearest charge points. And once they’ve charged their EV, they want to know how long the session lasted, how many kWh were charged, and what the session cost. OCPI makes it possible to share all this information. It is up to the providers to make this information transparent. In this context, ECISS aims to ensure the possibility of price transparency and insight into price structure.
Maximizing OCPI architecture efficiency
The technology underlying OCPI is complex; the exchange of data requires a sophisticated approach to functionality structure. The higher the demand and the more complex the needs, the more important it is that OCPI is as efficient as possible. Technicians within ECISS are mapping the architecture required. They are looking into what lessons can be learned from the earlier versions of OCPI and marking the paths to the best possible architecture, so that new services can be unlocked through OCPI.
New market actors who have not worked with OCPI, will be able to quickly connect to the system – the objective is to establish a future-proof protocol.
Research into new functionalities
The reality is that electric driving is in its infancy, and the rise in electric charging has been rapid. The fact that this phenomenon is so new means we cannot be certain what courses it will take. In the future there may be a demand for functionalities we know nothing about as yet. The best illustration is the emergence of blockchain technology. Blockchain is a decentralized open data network through which data can be safely distributed without the requirement for a single central database. Although it is still in a pioneering phase, the fact that data exchange is fundamental to the charging network means it is only logical that blockchain technology will impact on charging infrastructure. As part of its aim to future-proof OCPI, ECISS will incorporate the ability to add new functionalities to the architecture.
The EV as a power storage unit in smart energy networks
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology offers an important new functionality. In the context of energy transition the EV is regarded as a power storage device, as well as a vehicle, because an EV battery can be used to store sustainably generated energy. The greater the number of EVs, the greater their potential as power storage units. For this reason, EVs will become increasingly integrated in the energy network. Everyone in the energy sector is following this development closely, because power storage resources are crucial for successful energy transition. If there is an ongoing increase in the generation of solar and wind energy, the power grid will experience more peaks and troughs in energy availability. The availability of power storage units will make it possible to smooth out these peaks and troughs, ensuring constant availability of energy – even when there is no sun and no wind.
Connection to the power grid gives EV owners the opportunity to offer their battery to energy service providers. It also offers opportunities to market stakeholders wanting to offer new services. ECISS is contributing to the seamless incorporation of new services into OCPI.
The ECISS working groups include representatives from Allego, Eneco, Greenflux, Jedlix and TNO. The project coordinator NKL, the Netherlands Knowledge Platform for Public Charging Infrastructure. Their combined efforts bring in expertise from a range of domains in the world of EV transport.
- TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, oversees the development of the architecture of the protocol and research into further standardization..
- Greenflux oversees the development of new functionalities such as Smart Charging, and the exploration and assessment of new developments.
- Allego oversees the specifications for price transparency and price structure.
- Eneco eMobility and Jedlix provide input and expertise through their respective roles as supplier and Mobility Service Provider and aggregator (energy price alignment, energy availability, and energy demand)..
- NKL oversees reference implementation, project management activities, and activities surrounding the engagement of stakeholders and end users.