What is Electric Vehicle Autocharge?
Autocharge technology allows a driver to simply connect a charging cable to an EV to start charging — without any additional steps. User identification, authorization, and payment take place in the background. Autocharge works with most (but not all) EVs that accept a Combined Charging System (CCS) connector and support CCS two-way vehicle-to-charger communications.
Why is Autocharge important to the EV charging experience?
Autocharge is one EV industry approach to creating a seamless experience for drivers that helps remove barriers to EV adoption related to on-the-go charging. After creating an account with an EV charging network that supports Autocharge, drivers complete a one-time registration. After that, any charger in that network will recognize the registered EV and initiate a charging session automatically when the car is plugged in.
Why is Autocharge important to EV charging network operators?
Although the technology has been around for several years, adoption of Autocharge is limited to a handful of EV charging network operators — offering an opportunity for market differentiation to companies, like EVgo, that move quickly to offer this capability to their drivers. Autocharge is the faster, easier, and less costly way to implement a seamless charging experience.
What is required to implement Autocharge and how does it work?
The Open Fast Charging Alliance outlines these requirements for EV charging network operators that want to implement this capability:
- The ability to recognize some digital signature that uniquely identifies the EV when the connector is plugged in. Currently, Autocharge adopters are using either the Media Access Control (MAC) address assigned to the vehicle’s communication system or the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) as the identifier. The MAC address can only be used as an identifier when the manufacturer equips each vehicle with a unique MAC address (not all do).
- A charger that supports open charge point protocol (OCPP) version 1.5 or later. OCCP is the EV industry standard open-source protocol for communication between charging stations and central back-end EV charging management systems. Autocharge uses the OCPP Authorize command to send the unique vehicle identifier to the management system.
- A charging management system that supports OCPP and has the ability to authorize a charge based on the unique vehicle identifier, then send an Authorize response back to the charge point to initiate the charge. This Autocharge support can be very simple, or the management software provider can offer its network operator customers advanced features such as the ability to assign multiple vehicles to a single account.
What are the benefits of Autocharge?
- It offers a very user-friendly, seamless charging experience for EV drivers that is even more convenient than fueling an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle
- It is very simple to implement, particularly for EV charging networks that use OCPP-compliant charging stations and charging management software
- It works with both new and old EVs that use CCS charging connectors
- Network providers and vehicle manufacturers can adapt Autocharge technology easily to meet their own security requirements or offer differentiating features to attract EV drivers
What is the difference between Autocharge and Plug & Charge?
While Autocharge offers the same customer-friendly, seamless user experience as Plug & Charge, another EV industry approach to simplifying the charging experience, the underlying technologies are different. Plug & Charge uses the ISO 15118 protocol specifications, digital signatures, and public key infrastructures to secure communications between the vehicle and the charging infrastructure. While this approach offers more stringent security, it is far more complex, costly, and time consuming to implement. It also requires vehicle and charger manufacturers to support ISO 15118.