The Best EV Chargers start with OCPP Compliance
First things first, let's talk about the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) - this is an essential element to understanding the best EV charger. OCPP, is a open-source “language” that allows charging stations and central management systems to exchange data. At its most basic level, OCPP is a common communication protocol used across multiple manufacturers - meaning consumers have greater choice over the hardware and software they use. It’s used for both private and commercial EV charging use cases. Chargers that comply with this protocol are flexible and are compatible with a wide range of software or Charge Point Management Systems - opening up the possibilities of EV charging, which makes them a popular choice for commercial EV charging, installers and consume
How to check a charger is OCPP Compliant
If in doubt, you check if a charger is OCPP compliant by referring to a data sheet or simply asking the manufacturer. The Open Charge Alliance (OCA), the body responsible for OCPP, is available to anyone within the EV industry to join. It allows members to have an input into the development of OCPP and share best practices.
However any company can follow the OCPP with its hardware or software - it’s open by its nature.
Some hardware products are also certified against specific criteria by the OCA - and this can be checked on the OCA website. If the charger you're considering is included in this list, it signifies that it has officially received certification. If you’d like to know more about OCPP, check out our guide.
Different Sectors - private and commercial EV charging
EV chargers aren't one-size-fits-all. They cater to a wide range of sectors and use cases. Whether you're a business owner looking to provide charging for your fleet, a homeowner wanting to charge your EV overnight, or even an installer looking to win more work and level-up your knowledge, there's a charging station out there for you.
Generally speaking, EV charging stations can be split into two groupings: those more suitable for Commercial EV charging use cases, and private residential charging.
Commercial EV charging:
Destination Charging: Ideal for stadiums, hotels, shopping centres, and other public venues. These chargers provide a convenient way for EV drivers to recharge while they shop, dine, or attend events. They can attract more customers and encourage them to stay longer, boosting business.
Fleet Charging: Perfect for businesses that manage a fleet of EVs. These chargers can be installed at business premises or other managed sites, allowing fleets to recharge whenever they're not on the road. This ensures fleet vehicles are always ready to go, improving efficiency and reducing downtime.
Public Sector Charging: Great for public organisations such as local councils or government departments. These charging stations can be installed in public car parks, near public buildings, or in other areas accessible to the public. They provide a valuable service to the community and help promote the adoption of EVs.
Workplace Charging: Perfect for businesses of all sizes. These chargers can be installed at your workplace, providing a convenient way for employees to charge their EVs during the workday. They can also be a great perk to attract and retain employees.
Private Residential EV Charging:
Residential Charging: Ideal for homeowners, landlords, developers and property managers. These chargers can be installed in private residences, apartment complexes, or other residential properties - be they privately owned or managed as part of a larger estate, in a shared car park. These chargers, equipped with smart OCPP software, allow residents to conveniently charge their EVs while ensuring charging access control. They also offer an attractive amenity for potential renters or buyers.
Remember, the best EV chargers for you will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.
AC vs. DC Charging Stations
Next up, you'll need to choose between Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) charging stations. AC stations are more common and can be installed in homes and businesses, but they offer slower charging speeds - anything from 3kWh to 22kWh. These are the most widespread charge points and they can have either one or two plug sockets.
Generally, AC chargers can be found anywhere someone is going to park their vehicle for a significant amount of time - it covers almost every commercial EV charging use case covered above, as well as residential.
DC charging stations, on the other hand, provide much faster charging but are more expensive and require a more complex installation process. They directly charge the battery of the vehicle and can reach up to 400kWh.
You will only find DC charging stations in commercial settings - not residential - because of their cost to install and the resource needed. You tend to find them on motorways when drivers are pit stopping for a charge, before continuing on their journey. They can also be found charging specialist fleet vehicles, like electric refuse collection vehicles with 300kW batteries.
Popular Charge Point Brands and Manufacturers
A global company providing a comprehensive range of electrical devices - including EV charging solutions. Their offerings include compact, high-quality AC wallboxes right through to ultra rapid DC charging stations.
A leading provider of smart, solid, and high-tech charging stations for electric vehicles. Their product range includes various types of charging stations designed to cater to different environments and usage volumes. Alfen chargers can be ordered directly from Alfen with Clenergy EV software on board.
Manufacturer of multiple chargers for every use case, the Autel product line includes the MaxiCharger AC Wallbox, MaxiCharger DC Compact, and MaxiCharger DC Fast, among others. You’ve probably used one of these without realising it.
Want a sleek, smart EV charging unit from Norway? Look no further than Easee. Their AC chargers are compatible with all types of vehicles and are mostly aimed at the residential market place.
One of the biggest players in the market, EVBox provide both AC and DC chargers for residential and commercial use. They have sold over 500k charging stations globally and are trusted for their EV charging expertise.
Evolo is a Deta Brand, one of the most recognisable electrical companies in the UK. They offer a separate charging unit suitable for both home and business settings. Their chargers are compatible with all EV vehicles, with a range of 7.4-22kW AC products.
A leading manufacturer and supplier of electrical equipment, Garo have now established themselves in the EV marketplace across Europe. They supply AC charging stations for multiple use cases, in both single and dual socket versions.
Familiar to any electrical installer, Project EV are often at trade roadshow events. Their EV charger range includes both AC and DC units, suitable for home and public charging stations.
A leading manufacturer of outdoor electrical equipment in the UK, offering a range of smart AC and DC rapid chargers suitable for all locations. You’ll find Rolec’s stocked at almost every electrical wholesaler in the UK.
A global leader in energy management and automation, offering a range of EV charging solutions. Their EV charging solutions include the new Pro AC for home and private or semi-public car parks, suitable for offices, hotels, supermarkets, and fleets.
A leading supplier of EV charging solutions in the UK, distributing the Autel range. They offer a comprehensive range of stylish charge points and software applications, including single chargers and multi-unit load balanced systems.
A UK-based company offering a range of EV charging solutions for home and workplace settings. Their chargers are smart, safe, and reliable, and work with the Clenergy EV Charge Point Management System.
An Australian company that specialises in DC charging units - and one of the first to market, being established in 2001. The manufacturer and design their own proprietary technology to create advanced rapid chargers for EVs.
A Spanish company with global reach, Wallbox is dedicated to changing the way the world uses energy through its smart charging hardware. Their chargers combine cutting-edge technology and outstanding design with user-friendly apps for car-charger communications.
Supported Hardware Brands on the Clenergy EV Platform
Whether you're looking for the fastest EV charger, the cheapest EV charger for your budget, or the best home EV charger, Clenergy EV can help guide you to the most suitable option.
Clenergy EV supports a wide range of OCPP hardware brands, each offering unique features and benefits. The future of transportation is electric, and the journey starts at the charging station. With the knowledge of how to choose the best EV chargers at your fingertips, you're well on your way to a greener, more sustainable future.
The world of EV charging may seem complex, but with the right information, you'll be well-equipped to make the best choice for your needs.