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30/10/2023 News

CPOs, e-MSPs: what’s the story?



In 2022, 26 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold across the world, with close to eight million in Europe alone*. The figures point to a need to roll out a significant number of charge points to allow EV drivers to get around with peace of mind. But who installs and runs these chargers? Who supports the users in finding where to charge up and tap into payment solutions? Electric mobility is a sprawling ecosystem that remains somewhat misunderstood. In this article, we’ll delve into charge point operators and mobility service providers, two key stakeholders involved in developing infrastructure for electric vehicle-charging.

What are charge point operators?

What they do

Charge Point Operators (CPOs) are companies that handle the technical and commercial aspects of operating a charging network, managing all business, technical, legal and administrative relations hand in hand with various stakeholders.  CPOs set out to deploy charging networks and provide electric vehicle drivers with reliable service they can trust.

What they handle

CPOs handle a range of different tasks for their clients:

  • Deploying chargers and putting them into service across different types of  sites:  at service stations, on the roads, and at public and private parking spaces;
  • Providing preventive, curative and regulatory maintenance for equipment and facilities both remotely and on site, as well as user assistance;
  • Managing monetization for charging services;
  • Managing interoperability to ensure drivers can charge their electric vehicles at chargers using one or several mobility card(s) from different eMSPs.

In some cases, CPOs may also oversee energy supply, too.

Role of charging operator in pictures

In other words, without CPOs there would be no electric charging stations! Electric vehicle drivers need to be able to find a charger and pay for their charging session with total ease, and that’s where another all-important stakeholder comes in: mobility service providers.

What are mobility service providers?

What they do

eMSPs (mobility service providers) bring mobility services to market, giving drivers access to an extensive network of charge points operated by various CPOs. eMSPs set out to make it easy for electric vehicle drivers to access a network of charge points.

What they handle

Just like charge point operators, eMSPs handle several different aspects:

  • Providing users with a mobility service: each eMSP offers a mobility card that subscribers can use to access and charge up on a network run by the eMSP’s partner CPO. Essentially, the more contractual partnerships an eMSP forges with CPOs, the greater the number of charge points available through its card. eMSPs also offer mobility apps that sometimes include a feature drivers can use to plan their route ahead of time, locate and book available charging terminals, and more;
  • Managing customer relations with cardholders, from pricing policy to providing subscriptions for different packages;


Role of mobility services provider in pictures

eMSPs and CPOs: two vital components of the electric mobility chain

In short:

if you want to set up chargers within your company or your local area and optimize energy consumption levels for your vehicles, get in touch with a CPO.

If, however, you’d like to give your staff or local community access to a card that will allow them to charge their vehicles across a wide network of charge points, an eMSP can help you do just that.

And finally, if you’re looking to offer both a charging solution and a linked-up payment method simultaneously, you’ll need to call on a company that can do it all.

A charge point operator, mobility service provider and electricity supplier all rolled into one, TotalEnergies is a leading name in electromobility both within Europe (France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom) and beyond (Singapore, China, India), offering seamless, turnkey charging solutions for businesses and local authorities alike.

Interested in finding out more about our charging solutions?


*As of late July 2023. Source: Avere-France EV Outlook report