RST Software
Editorial Team
Ross Krawczyk
Reviewed by a tech expert

How EV charging standards impact car manufacturers and software providers both in the US and Europe

Read this articles in:

Gas stations are as standardized establishments as they come. They’re the grocery stores for energy, fuelling both vehicles with petrol and humans with food. Regardless of the particular brand, you know what you can expect from them and this is somehow comforting, in a sense. Well, at least until you see the actual gas prices. On the other hand, electric vehicle charging stations, conceived to serve largely the same purpose, are a comparably recent and much required phenomenon, considering how much push there is for limiting carbon emissions. If you’re looking to get involved in this market segment in any way, understanding the different EV charging standards across the US and Europe will be instrumental to your success, so let’s talk about it.

What is smart EV charging?

Smart EV charging, or intelligent charging, operates on a foundation of data exchange. This entails a connection shared between an electric vehicle, a charging device, and a charging operator. Unlike the traditional power-up systems isolated from the cloud, the brilliance of smart EV charging solutions lies in their ability to facilitate remote monitoring, management, and energy optimization.

What sets them apart is their cloud-based flexibility. You can easily integrate, modify, or remove features, shaping a bespoke system tailored to users’ needs.

The interconnectedness of electric vehicles with the power grid via the station is where the true significance emerges. This partnership is a symbiotic one – each element supporting the other. Without the intelligence of smart charging, this collaboration could disintegrate, potentially burdening the grid with the influx of many power-hungry electric vehicles. Smart EV charging, in its essence, is what harmonizes this intricate dance of energy supply and demand, warranting a sustainable and efficient future.

Benefits of smart EV charging

Intelligent charging brings an array of tangible benefits to the table, catering to various stakeholders involved. Whether you're a driver, a business owner, or part of a charging network, smart EV charging delivers advantages that ripple through the entire ecosystem.

For EV drivers, the perks are aplenty. Think of conveniently locating available charging stations via a mobile app and securing your spot on the fly. With the brilliance of smart charging, the energy flow gets a boost – the system automatically taps into the maximum available capacity, propelling faster charging speeds. Safety gets a significant upgrade too – smart devices run pre-charging connection tests and oversee the process, ensuring a secure experience. Going beyond just convenience, smart EV charging ushers in a greener and more economical era. It optimizes charging timing to coincide with lower electricity rates, saving both money and the environment.

Businesses also find their ally in smart EV charging. Monitoring loading events becomes a breeze with remote access to a comprehensive management system. Payments get frictionless – drivers are billed automatically based on the pricing, while the income flows your way monthly. Controlling electricity consumption becomes streamlined, preventing grid overload and skyrocketing bills.

For EV charging networks, the benefits extend even further. Smart charging helps in stabilizing the grid, adapting powering events to energy demand signals. The flexibility to evolve with a rapidly changing landscape is crucial, and cloud-based smart charging solutions can be seamlessly updated, ensuring relevance every day. Managing multiple smart EV charging stations becomes a walk in the park with grouping options, pricing models, and hassle-free maintenance. Key metrics and statistics provide valuable insights, helping you stay on top of things and make informed decisions.

Electric car charging standards in European countries and the US

The global surge in electric vehicle adoption has sparked the need for a resilient and dependable network of EV charging stations. However, a notable hurdle in the path of widespread integration is the absence of a universal charging standard.

Presently, diverse electric car charging standards are prevalent worldwide. This lack of unification can complicate cross-border EV travel, posing challenges for drivers who may not be able to utilize their chargers at every station along the way.

European EV charging standards

Across Europe, the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector takes center stage as the main standard for EV charging. CCS amalgamates the Type 2 connector with the CHAdeMO connector, creating a dual-purpose platform for both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) EVs. This versatility allows CCS chargers to cater to a broad spectrum of electric vehicles. They have now found their footing within an expanding network of public charging stations, dotting the European landscape.

Beside the prominence of CCS, Europe's EV charging space hosts a variety of other standards. The Type 2 connector holds sway as the dominant choice for slow AC charging, establishing a familiar presence throughout the infrastructure. For swift DC charging, the CHAdeMO connector emerges as the go-to standard, enabling rapid power replenishment. On top of those, the Mennekes connector makes its presence felt as an emerging contender. This newer standard gathering momentum in Europe signals the ever-evolving nature of EV charging standards and the continual pursuit of innovation.

American EV charging standards

In the United States, the J1772 connector takes the spotlight as the predominant standard for EV charging. It caters to slower AC charging, but it lacks compatibility with DC fast charging. That said, the American landscape is witnessing a surge in the number of DC stations utilizing the CHAdeMO connector, paving the way for quicker power replenishment.

Addressing the need for harmonization, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has undertaken the mission of championing a universal EV charging standard. Their efforts are directed towards fostering the development of the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the go-to standard for EVs across the nation.

Globally adopted EV charging protocols and standards

Some of the EV charging standards present in Europe and America are gaining widespread global adoption. They transcend regions and are embraced by numerous countries, underscoring the push for unified charging experiences across borders. In particular, we’re talking about:

  • Combined Charging System (CCS): The CCS standard blends the Type 2 connector with the CHAdeMO connector, offering a versatile solution for both AC and DC charging. Widely embraced in Europe, CCS is making inroads in the US as well.
CCS Charging Standard - Driivz
CCS Connectors
  • Type 2 connector: Across Europe, the Type 2 connector stands tall as the preferred choice for gradual AC charging. Its acceptance is expanding beyond the old continent’s borders.
  • CHAdeMO connector: Recognized globally as the go-to standard for rapid DC charging, the CHAdeMO connector boasts remarkable charging speeds. It's tailored for DC charging and does not support AC.
  • GB/T: Most common EV charging standard in the vast Chinese market.

Moving beyond the just highlighted standards, a number of essential protocols also play a vital role in ensuring effective functioning of EV charging networks. These protocols are integral in enabling accessibility for EV drivers and ensuring safe and efficient management of charging stations. They encompass:

  • Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP): OCPP stands as a communication protocol that takes charge of controlling and overseeing the stations. It holds the distinction of being the most widely employed protocol for EV charging operations.
  • ISO 15118: It takes center stage as a communication protocol dedicated to the authentication and authorization of EV charging. Renowned for its emphasis on secure charging, ISO 15118 is a universally acknowledged protocol in this realm.
  • OpenADR: This protocol comes as a critical player, orchestrating the automated interaction between EV charging stations and the power grid. Its significance lies in preventing power grid overload, ensuring the balanced coexistence of EV charging and the grid's integrity.

Territory-specific EV charging regulations

Looking at some of the EV charging regulations globally, one can seem to notice a shared belief in the power of electric vehicles to shape the future of transportation. The laws don't just create rules, they lay the foundation for a sustainable and electrifying journey ahead.

UK-specific EV charging regulations

The UK is moving ahead with a resolute target – 300,000 public EV charging points by 2030. The path to this goal is paved with incentives. The government is not merely setting a numerical target but is walking the talk. Financial incentives beckon businesses and individuals to take charge, quite literally. These measures encompass the Electric Vehicle (Charging Infrastructure) Regulations 2019, which mandate the installation of at least one EV charging point in new non-residential buildings exceeding 200 square meters. In addition, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Grant Scheme extends a helping hand, fueling the proliferation of EV charging points.

The Netherlands-specific EV charging regulations

In the Netherlands, a million public EV charging points are envisioned by 2030, a testament to the country's dedication to sustainable transport. The government wields its influence through strategic measures like the National Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2020-2030, sketching a canvas for a comprehensive network of EV charging points. The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Act adds the necessary legal strokes, offering a structured framework for the installation and operation of these vital spots. What's noteworthy is the focus on ease – waiving permit requirements in certain areas to foster accessibility.

Source: The National Charging Infrastructure Agenda

California-specific EV charging regulations

The Golden State sets a shining example with its EV charging regulations. New homes aren't just built, they're built with the future in mind. The requirement for every new home to include at least one EV charging point illuminates the state's commitment to sustainable living. But it's not just mandates that drive the change, it's financial incentives too. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulations mandate a percentage of ZEVs in car manufacturers' sales mix, channeling the automotive landscape towards emission-free horizons. On the flip side, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Charge adds a small fee to electricity bills, a collective effort to fund the growth of the network.

NACS – North American Charging Standard

Since its emergence in 2012, Tesla has been a commanding force in the North American Electric Vehicle (EV) market. Rather than conforming to the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard that gained traction in the US and Europe, Tesla charted its own path by developing a proprietary charging system.

In a significant move in November 2022, Tesla not only made its specification publicly accessible but also christened it as the North American Charging Standard (NACS). This decision underscores Tesla's influence in the charging landscape, as its charging stations now outnumber all other CCS charging stations combined in the US, solidifying NACS as the predominant standard.

  • NACS features: Similar to the CCS Combo plugs, NACS is designed to offer both Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) charging through a single plug. However, NACS stands out for its superior capacity, capable of delivering up to an impressive 1MW of power on DC, surpassing the capabilities of CCS.
  • Adoption by major automakers: The NACS standard has already garnered support from industry giants like Ford and General Motors (GM). Both companies have publicly announced their intention to adopt the NACS standard, with the first NACS-compatible vehicles expected to emerge from GM and Ford's assembly lines by 2025.
  • Transition period: Until the full integration of NACS into their vehicles, GM and Ford drivers will need to utilize an adapter to connect to NACS chargers. This interim solution ensures continuity in charging access while paving the way for a unified charging experience in the near future.
NACS (formerly Tesla) connector

Tesla's introduction and promotion of the NACS standard mark a pivotal moment in the North American EV charging ecosystem. By aligning with this standard, other major manufacturers are signaling a shift towards a more cohesive and advanced charging infrastructure, reflecting both the current dominance of Tesla and the evolving dynamics of the EV market.

How EV charger standards impact manufacturers and software providers

Both manufacturers and software providers find themselves at the crossroads of innovation and compatibility. Striking the right balance between embracing established standards and driving innovation is crucial. The former must aim to build charging stations that cater to diverse EV models. The latter must develop digital solutions that transcend the existing limitations of different standards, offering a unified and user-centric experience.

Charging station manufacturers

For EV charging station manufacturers, the industry specifications set the parameters for design and compatibility. The choice of a specific standard can significantly impact the reach and usability of their products. Embracing popular standards such as CCS or CHAdeMO opens the gateway to a broader user base. The incorporation of these standards isn't just about hardware, it's about providing a satisfactory, future-ready experience. Manufacturers need to balance innovation with adherence to established standards to make sure their products remain relevant in an evolving EV ecosystem.

Electric vehicle manufacturers

Charger standards wield a profound influence on the landscape of Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturing, sculpting two pivotal domains of business operation: product strategy and market reach.

  • Product strategy alignment: Adhering to prevailing charging standards is not merely a regulatory necessity; it's a strategic alignment that ensures the compatibility of vehicles with the existing infrastructure. This alignment is instrumental in making EVs market-ready, fostering a seamless integration with current charging systems.
  • Expanding market reach: Compliance with established standards isn't just about conformity; it's about unlocking broader market reach. By ensuring that vehicles fit seamlessly into the existing charging ecosystem, manufacturers can appeal to a wider audience, enhancing accessibility and consumer confidence.
  • Embracing innovation: Yet, the path to leadership in the EV market isn't solely paved with adherence to existing norms. Manufacturers must not shy away from innovation. Pioneering new charging technologies can position them as future market leaders, creating ripple effects that benefit all stakeholders, from consumers to policymakers.

The challenge and opportunity lie in striking the perfect balance between aligning with current standards and developing new, revolutionary technology.

Automotive software providers

Software providers stand as the architects of the digital realm that complements the physical infrastructure of EV charging stations. The impact of prevailing standards on them is two-fold. Firstly, they must ensure that their solutions stay compatible. Software that can't effectively interact with different charging networks can limit user access and create inefficiencies. Secondly, software providers have a role to play in enhancing the overall charging experience. Through their interface systems, they have an opportunity to offer real-time data, spot reservation options, and payment solutions that simplify the user journey. So, while being constrained with the existing standards, software providers also have a considerable amount of freedom in terms of making the EV charging experience memorable, thus contributing to the long-term transformation.

How to comply with charging standards in automotive software development

Now, taking everything that’s been discussed so far into consideration, if you were a company looking to capitalize on this major shift taking place by engaging in automotive software development, what would the plan of action look like?

Well, it boils down to addressing a number of key issues, including:

  • Are you keen on achieving short time to market? If so…
  • Are you planning to go global, or perhaps have a more localized strategy? This will affect…
  • What prevailing charging standard you’re going to have to adjust to and work with and…
  • Take into account the type of charging stations that are most numerous. Then…
  • You need to assess the relevant regulations for the area(s) you want to expand into. What do they currently allow for? What is the outlook going forward? What changes are planned?

If you happen to be more future-oriented, aiming to become an innovator in the niche, perhaps, you can focus more on trends and regulations shaping the landscape. In any case, however, all the issues just mentioned will to some degree impact the reach and usability of your software product.

There are multiple important stakeholders in this game, who all have to work in concert if we’re going to see the turn to a more environmentally-friendly transportation actually yield the desired results.

RST’s expertise in building mobility solutions

At RST Software, we've been riding the all-things-transportation wagon for a minute now. Completed projects in urban mobility, logistics, and food delivery have led us to now proudly offer mobility as a service app development as one of our main courses.

The EV charging niche is a new challenge our adept team is ready to tackle with the goal of crafting user-centric experiences that shape the future of sustainable transportation in mind.

Boasting a proven record of successful projects and offering MVP development services, we're ready to drive innovation forward. If you're ready to explore the potential of the evolving electric vehicle landscape, reach out to us today. Let's collectively write a new chapter in the story of eco-conscious mobility.

People also ask

No items found.
Want more posts from the author?
Read more

Want to read more?


10 German mobility startups and companies shaping the future of urban transportation

Explore the future of urban transportation with these 10 innovative German mobility startups and companies. Stay ahead of the curve.

Electric Vehicle Routing - the ultimate guide to the best EV navigation providers

Navigate electric vehicle routes with confidence. Explore the best EV navigation providers in this comprehensive guide.

Automotive HMI design and development: how to build a digital cockpit

Dive into the future of automotive HMI. Create a digital cockpit centered on safety, user engagement, and cutting-edge tech.
No results found.
There are no results with this criteria. Try changing your search.