Data security in electric mobility

The DELTA project develops protection profiles

A circuit board depicts the stylised logo of a car with three bars representing internet reception glowing on the roof.

In the energy world of tomorrow electric vehicles will not just travel from A to B but will also perform plenty of other tasks. They can, for example, be used as temporary storage for the solar power they produce or – when connected to charging points in large numbers – supply electricity during shortages and help maintain grid stability. To be able to do this, they need to be networked far more extensively than they are today and communicate much more with their environment. 

Electricity and data flow at the charging station

In this context data security and data communication in line with set rules are crucial factors. However, to date, only an international standard (ISO 15118) for the data exchange between the vehicle and the charging station has been established. All other communication streams, those to energy utilities, grid operators, fleet managers or third-party providers have not yet been defined. The charging station operator is practically the custodian of all data. This is the starting point for the DELTA project, funded (2016 to the end of 2018) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Under the leadership of innogy, seven partners from industry, science and standardisation develop "protection profiles". Which market participant in electric mobility should be allowed to communicate with the charging station? What types of information will be provided and which security standards need to be complied with to prevent e-mobility users from becoming totally transparent customers? To date there is no comprehensive legal framework in place to answer all these questions. 

There is a lack of standards and legal provisions in this regard. There are very concrete guidelines in place for smart meters, for example. We do not have anything like this for electric mobility yet.
Marcel Jelitto, DELTA project manager at innogy.

DELTA develops the charging station of the future

We can think of protection profiles as valves that regulate the data streams in a way that protects consumers and benefits all market participants.
"We ascertain where protection is needed", says Marcel Jelitto, project manager at innogy. "Based on this analysis we then assess what communication between the market participants should actually look like in order to protect the consumers' personal data." innogy will then develop the prototype of the charging station of the future with its partners and will issue recommendations for action for manufacturers and committees. "We are putting in the ground work and making proposals to the Federal Office of Information Security based on our results", says Marcel Jelitto. Ground work that should ideally inform legal provisions and thus make electric mobility more secure.

The expansion of electric mobility is gathering momentum

Standardisation has another benefit. It opens up the market. In order to ensure data security, up to now manufacturers and operators of charging stations have set up closed private networks. If a clear legal framework for all potential market participants is put in place, it will be no longer necessary to close off the networks in this way. Expansion of electric mobility can gather momentum.  

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