Black EV car being charged in a public parking garage

E-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP) and Charge Point Operators (CPO)

Whether you are new to fleet electrification and researching about how you can implement EVs into your fleet or you are already experienced with electric vehicles: In the world of EVs, you will come across a lot of acronyms and new terms. In this article, we are going to focus on the terms EMSP and CPO. After you are done reading, you will know what these terms stand for and understand the relationship and differences between them.

What is an E-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP)?

An E-Mobility Service Provider (EMSP) is a company offering an EV charging service to drivers of electric vehicles. To understand this charging service, imagine that you manage a fleet which includes electric vehicles, but your EVs don’t have access to a sufficiently large network of charging points. An EMSP can support you by granting access to a huge number of charging stations around a certain area — for example, the city where your fleet is based in and where the capacity is needed. If you decide to use the service of an EMSP, you will be registered into the EMSP’s system, and your drivers can use the charging infrastructure via a charging card or app. The EMSP will take care of the billing as well.

What is a Charge Point Operator (CPO)?

A Charge Point Operator (CPO) is a company that operates, manages, and sets up a network of charging stations. For example: Around the city of Copenhagen, almost all available charging stations are operated and owned by E.ON (Note that a CPO does not necessarily need to own the charging stations). They are our Charge Point Operators here, as they take care of the existing infrastructure and build new ones.

What is the difference between a CPO and an EMSP?

While the CPO manages and sets up the charging infrastructure and maintains the charging stations, the EMSP offers this charging infrastructure to actual customers, helping the CPO make money with their chargers and taking care of the billing. An EMSP can have more than just one CPO in their pool – this will grant more value to the end user of the EMSP, as their customers can now access an even larger network of charging stations.

One last thing to keep in mind: As the market for EV charging stations is, the lines between CPOs and EMSPs are getting thinner, and the two company types are harder to distinguish. Oftentimes, the CPO of a charge point is also the EMSP of the charge point. For example, Shell is both the CPO of their own charge points and offering the Shell Recharge App – therefore being an EMSP at the same time.

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