Public Key Infrastructure Developments in North America

Significant developments are underway in public key infrastructure (PKI) for the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry in the United States. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program, which will release 7.5 Billion USD for EV infrastructure over the next five years, requires funded chargers to be capable of Plug & Charge beginning February 28, 2024. Plug & Charge relies on PKI to ensure secure transactions and necessitates that multiple PKI operators across North America agree on common governance and rules to ensure interoperability across PKIs, fair competition, and a consistent Plug & Charge experience.  

This article describes the outcome of two workshops hosted by CharIN North America and the California Energy Commission (CEC) in May and June 2023 to facilitate these important cross-industry discussions.  

Exploring New Opportunities for Public Key Infrastructure in the North American Market 

The first public key infrastructure (PKI) workshop held in North America was at the VOLTS Conference & Testing Symposium in Long Beach, CA on May 8, 2023. The workshop was titled “Industry Perspectives on Governance & Policies for PKI & Ecosystem,” and was sponsored by the California Energy Commission (CEC). The facilitated workshop was hosted by CharIN North America and included polling and discussion with the audience, PKI status update presentations, and multiple proposals for how to resolve near-term PKI challenges with ISO 15118-2. There were 60 attendees representing government, NGOs, automotive OEMs, EVSE OEMs, and charge point operators. 

The goals of the workshop included: 

  • Obtaining industry alignment towards a common governance model with an appropriate policy to help manage multiple V2G PKIs, multi-contracts & ecosystems; 
  • Aligning on Plug & Charge solutions for 15118-2; and 
  • Developing key workstreams with industry participants leading the development effort for a unified solution.  

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Published on: 07/06/2023

Takeaways from the May PKI workshop  

The workshop participants utilized a polling tool to engage in discussion. Based on polling results, most participants believed that a V2G PKI should be governed by a common set of rules, policies and procedures. The majority believe that an industry association should structure V2G root PKI governance. The polling also indicated that industry needs to focus on short-term PKI solutions while planning to support the development of longer-term common governance, market guidelines and policies.  

Participants were asked to help define CharIN’s role in solving the PKI interoperability challenge. Many participants suggested that CharIN should organize industry alignment, but not necessarily establish a V2G PKI in North America. Participants' comments were tabulated and categorized as shown in graph below.  

Caption: The guidance from workshop attendees suggested CharIN should moderate discussions and provide a forum on PKI governance and policies by bringing the industry stakeholders together. 

The group agreed that this multi-faceted issue needs to be segmented into appropriate parts and further developed with appropriate subject matter experts tackling individual components of the task set. The attendees also agreed to meet before the next workshop to further the conversation, and that solutions needed to be developed quickly to support market and regulatory demands.  

CharIN North America committed to providing a forum for dialogue to find solutions and definitions for North America, while providing lessons-learned from CharIN PKI activities in Europe. Attendees determined that an additional workshop and meetings were necessary to maintain the industry momentum and were scheduled in late May and early June. 

Determining PKI Governance and Policy Leadership and Timelines 

A second workshop hosted by the California Energy Commission and Elaad-NL was held on June 14, 2023 in Sacramento, CA in parallel with EVS36. The workshop included a CharIN-facilitated discussion on the status of near-term objectives and identification of an appropriate forum for future discussions. Participants were polled on the likelihood of the SDP Service solution being deployed within the next 12 months. The results show that a majority of OEMs would take over 18 months to implement, whereas CPO/EVSE companies could bring the change in less than six months once the details were finalized. 

CharIN presented a proposed roadmap for PKI governance certificate policy and market guidelines in North America, which participants discussed along with determining an appropriate forum for outlining PKI governance, policy and guidelines. It was agreed that PKI governance was necessary to maintain freedom of choice and an open market for all participants including the consumer. 

Caption: Most participants agreed that CharIN North America was the appropriate organization to form a Task force to help lead the PKI discussions forward. However, other entities were also discussed. 

Takeaways from June PKI workshop 

The next steps outlined by the participants were to establish both a Business Task Force and a Technical Task Force and to begin reviewing the body of PKI interoperability work already completed in Europe. Near-term solution of using the SDP service to resolve Multi PKI interoperability issues with ISO 15118-2 can also be demonstrated during the upcoming CharIN Testival (currently planned for fall 2023).  

While a final decision has not yet been reached on next steps for the PKI task forces at the time of publication, CharIN North America leadership is continuing to engage with workshop attendees and other organizations to identify the best options to support these important activities. Please stay tuned for further developments and contact with any questions.  

News contacts

Erika Myers

Executive Director, Charging Interface Initiative North America (CharIN Inc.)

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