Knowledge base > EV Charging protocols

What is the ISO 15118 standard?

ISO 15118 “Road vehicles — Vehicle to grid communication interface” is an international standard that defines a vehicle to grid (V2G) communication interface for bi-directional charging/discharging of electric vehicles. The standard provides for several use cases such as secure communication, smart charging and the Plug & Charge feature used by some electric vehicle networks.

ISO 15118 is a group of standards from the International Electrotechnical Commission for electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks. The ISO and IEC organizations began working together on the standard in 2010 and a Plug&Charge section was released in 2014. For now, support for this protocol is not yet common.

What can you do with Plug&Charge?

Plug&Charge is the “open” alternative to the closed solution developed by Tesla for charging Tesla cars within the Supercharge network.

ISO 15118’s easy-to-use and secure Plug&Charge feature allows an electric vehicle to automatically identify and authorize itself to a compatible charging station on behalf of the driver, to receive energy to charge the battery. The only action the driver needs to take is to plug the charging cable into the EV and/or the charging station. The car and charger identify to each other by exchanging certificates that were provided in advance through a certificate pool to enable payment. An open test system started in November 2021. The standard can be used for both wired (AC and DC charging) and wireless charging for electric vehicles.

Most EV cars support the Plug & Charge standard. Other electric vehicles may be upgraded to support the standard. Some cars, such as BMW’s EV models, require hardware updates.


Alternatives to Plug & Charge exist including “AutoCharge” based on DIN Spec 70121 (Combined Charging System – CCS) which uses the car’s fixed MAC address, which is not a secure mechanism. However, Volkswagen Group cars do not have a fixed MAC address and cannot use AutoCharge anyway.