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02/05/2024 News

Everything you need to know about chargers interoperability

+750 000*: It represents the number of charge points accessible to the public in Europe.  This number of charge points will continue to grow over coming years. There are two options for payment: your bank card or a mobility card, which gives you access to a vast network of chargers through interoperability.

What is interoperability, who are the players involved and what are their roles, what payment methods can be used...? Let’s take a look!

*At the end of December 2023

Who are the interoperability players?

In the world of electric mobility, there are three main players: 

  • Charge Point Operators (more commonly known as CPOs), who install and operate the chargers;
  • Mobility Service Providers (eMSPs), who provide mobility services in the form of a card or mobile application to their subscribers, and manage the commercial relationship with them;
  • Roaming platforms, such as Gireve or Hubject, which facilitate communication between CPOs and eMSPs.

Note that a company can be both a CPO and an eMSP. To find out more about the role of CPOs and eMSPs, take a look at the following article

What are the different payment methods for a charging session?

There are different ways for paying your charging session: 

  • A bank card can be used on all chargers’ networks equipped with an electronic payment terminal or a QR code displayed on the charger or a mobile app. Note that this universal payment method will be mandatory on all chargers in the European Union in 2024 as part of the Alternative Fules Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) in order to guarantee access to charging wherever you need it, without requiring a prior subscription to a provider.
  • A mobility card, issued by your e-Mobility Service Provider (eMSP). It can give you access to charging services of different networks, depending on the agreements signed between your eMSP and the CPOs. We're talking about interoperability.

What is interoperability?

Interoperability enables CPOs and eMSPs information systems to communicate directly with each other, using a common language. The most widely used today is the OCPI protocol (= Open Charge Point Interface protocol).  

However, there are currently several hundred CPOs and eMSPs in Europe.  As each connection between a CPO and an eMSP involves contractual negotiation, specific technical developments and data processing, it is almost impossible to connect directly to all players. This is where a new player comes into the picture: roaming platforms.

These platforms enable CPOs and eMSPs to share information and authorize charging without having to create a direct technical link. Roaming platforms act as technical facilitators. However, commercial agreements are systematically signed between CPOs and eMSPs.

This interconnection between players allows you to charge your vehicle using a single mobility card. And this is the principle of interoperability.

For example, if you are already a TotalEnergies customer and you have a Charge+ card for personal use or a Charge+ Business card for business use, you will be able to charge your vehicle through the network of chargers operated by TotalEnergies as well as those belonging to our partners.

Interoperability in pictures

An agreement is signed bilaterally, and technical links are created between the charge point operator and roaming platforms.
An agreement is signed bilaterally, and technical links are created between the mobility service provider and roaming platforms.
Only a bilateral agreement is signed between the charge point operator and the mobility service provider.

What are the benefits of interoperability for EV drivers?

Interoperability is a major issue in the development of electric mobility on a European scale, as it makes it possible to:

  • Charge your electric vehicle on an extensive public charging network using your usual mobility card*;
  • Share various information between the different players involved in charging, such as the location of chargers, real-time availability,  delivered power and pricing. The result: greater transparency for users.

Both a charge point operator and a mobility services provider, TotalEnergies partners with eMSPs (91 at the end of February 2024), CPOs (800 in April 2024) and roaming platforms to facilitate electric vehicle drivers’ roaming on our public charging network and those of our partners.

As an eMSP, TotalEnergies develops mobility cards for individuals and professionals, in order to develop roaming charging for as many people as possible (currently, there are nearly 600,000 charge points accessible in Europe at the end of March 2024).  

In conclusion, we are fully committed to meeting our customers’ and all (future) electric vehicle drivers’ needs, in order to provide them a simple, seamless and transparent charging service to ensure that both professional and personal trips are made with complete peace of mind.  

*Provided that the network you charge your vehicle on has an agreement with your eMSP.