What is the difference between autocharge and Plug & Charge?

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in popularity, understanding the nuances of EV charging technologies becomes crucial. Two terms often heard in the EV charging conversation are Autocharge and Plug & Charge. While they might seem similar at first glance, they are different technologies with unique features and benefits. Let’s demystify these terms.

What is Autocharge?

Autocharge is a technology that simplifies the EV charging process. When an electric car is equipped with a Combined Charging System (CCS) connector and plugged into a charging station, the station identifies the vehicle using a unique identifier, typically the Media Access Control (MAC) address.

This identifier is sent to a Charging Station Management System (CSMS) in the cloud, which then authorizes the charging session if the MAC address matches a pre-registered whitelist.

This process eliminates the need for additional steps like card swipes or app usage, making charging straightforward and hassle-free.

How does the process work?

The process begins when the driver plugs their EV into the charging station. The EV sends its MAC address to the station, using the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) to communicate with the CSMS.

Then the CSMS checks the MAC address against its whitelist and, if a match is found, authorizes the charging session.

This is the process that makes Autocharge a seamless and user-friendly option for EV drivers.

What is Plug & Charge (ISO 15118)?

Plug & Charge, as defined by the ISO 15118 standard, takes a more sophisticated approach.

It uses asymmetric-key and symmetric-key algorithms for secure communication between the EV and the charging station.

This includes the use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols, Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) for key agreement, and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for message encryption.

Each electric vehicle has a unique contract certificate linked to a billing account, which is verified by the charging station or CSMS before initiating the charging process.

What is the difference bet Autocharge and Plug & Charge?

While both technologies aim to streamline the EV charging experience, they differ significantly in their approach and implementation.

  • Security: Plug & Charge offers a higher level of security due to its cryptographic methods, making it a more secure option for data-sensitive users.
  • Complexity and Cost: Autocharge is simpler and less costly than Plug & Charge, which requires more complex infrastructure and support for ISO 15118.
  • Compatibility: Autocharge is limited to vehicles with CCS connectors that support two-way communication, whereas Plug & Charge requires vehicles and chargers that support ISO 15118.

The main benefits of Autocharge and Plug & Charge

Both technologies offer different advantages:

  • Autocharge: It’s user-friendly and compatible with a wide range of EVs. Its simplicity in implementation makes it an attractive option for charging network operators.
  • Plug & Charge: Offers enhanced security and is part of a global standard, which could lead to broader adoption in the future.


As the EV market continues to evolve, these technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of EV charging. While Autocharge offers simplicity and ease of use, Plug & Charge provides a more secure, standardized approach.

For those interested in the latest developments in EV charging technologies, Cloudics remains at the forefront, offering insights and solutions that cater to the modern EV owner’s needs. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates.

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This means that Cloudics and Astro Baltics partners can offer users the opportunity to pay for different fuels at the already existing OPT.

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You can watch a quick 1-minute video here on how Cloudics for EV charging works.