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S44 2024 Prediction: EV Chargers Will Be Powered by Open Source


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2024.  Read them in this 16th annual series exclusive.

EV Chargers Will Be Powered by Open Source

By Thana Paris, director of open source, S44

With Biden's goal to make 50 percent of all car sales electric by 2030, the electric vehicle (EV) industry faces challenges in building a reliable charging network to meet this demand. For automakers and tech leaders alike, open source software will be a critical enabler for scaling the EV charging grid in 2024 and beyond. By adopting open source, EV leaders can efficiently meet new regulations, spur innovation, and access government funding.

Here's a look at what open source will do for EVs in 2024:

Comply with standard protocols

As the EV market accelerates, open source software will become critical for building a nationwide charging network. Most of today's EV charger management software follows the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) standard. While most charge point operators (CPOs) have built proprietary OCPP 1.6-compliant systems, OCPP upgraded to 2.0.1 in 2019 with significant improvements. The challenge is that 2.0.1 has yet to be implemented across all EV chargers and upgrading systems running on 1.6 will be costly and time-consuming.

Recognizing this, EV tech leaders are introducing critical open source projects that are compliant with OCPP 2.0.1 to enable remote monitoring, improved transaction handling and more. Embracing these projects will allow the companies that build and manage EV chargers to meet new government regulations - most importantly in the US the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, which requires OCPP 2.0.1 compliance. The deadline to comply for NEVI funding is February 28, 2024, which doesn't give CPOs much time to adopt the required standards. Rather than proprietary solutions, collaborative open source software will provide the flexibility needed for the industry to keep pace with government goals.

Improve flexibility and innovation

A core tenet of open source software is that it can be developed, improved and tested by all stakeholders, providing the entire industry with better, more secure and up-to-date solutions. Open source unlocks flexibility, allowing continuous innovation by developers across companies. Major automakers like GM, Ford and BMW have already adopted open source solutions like Tesla's North American Charging Standard for charger connectors. Now, complementary open source software projects like CitrineOS for charger management and EVerest for charger firmware are gaining traction. Like the manufacturing industry, automakers realize they don't need to build everything themselves. Leveraging shared open source software helps ensure drivers have a consistent EV charging experience no matter what brand of charger they use or where they use it.

Electrify government fleets

The Biden Administration's Federal Sustainability Plan requires most federal vehicle acquisitions to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The impacted agencies are well on their way, with a 2023 goal of installing 8,500 EV charging ports and acquiring nearly 9,500 electric vehicles. In 2024, expect to see these government agencies taking a page out of the public sector's book by embracing open source technology to power the EV fleet chargers needed to meet the administration's goals.

Access government funding

Performance isn't the only driver behind the industry-wide adoption of open source software - there's a massive funding opportunity that's a big incentive. In 2024, we'll see this drive the adoption of compliant software to help companies become eligible for $7.5 billion in NEVI funding and $2.5 billion in Federal Highway Administration grants. This money will go a long way toward the goal of building 1.2 million public chargers by 2030 to make EV charging as accessible as gas stations.

Enable the EV revolution

In 2024, we'll be one step closer to living in a world where EV charging is seamless, customizable and accessible to all. And it's largely reliant on the adoption of open source. By embracing compliant open source software, developers that build and maintain EV chargers will unlock a range of possibilities to shape the future of EV charging.



Thana Paris 

Thana Paris has spent her career architecting features for some of the largest North American EV charging networks. As the director of open source program at S44, she helps guide the growth and community for CitrineOS, the world’s first open source charge management software.

Published Monday, January 15, 2024 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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