29 June 2023

What is the difference between CPOs and MSPs?

Charging Point Operators and Mobility Service Providers are two key players in the electric mobility supply chain: let’s find out more about their role.

The electric mobility system is composed of several actors, and it is not always easy to recognize the differences between the various players that are part of it. Understanding the difference between a CPO and a MSP is a useful for all e-drivers, so they know who is performing the different activities and are able to easily identify who to contact in case of need. Moreover, this is a relevant distinction also for those who want to contribute to the growth of their business and easily identify who to reach, in the field of electric mobility, to propose new services, seizing the opportunities offered by the development of e-mobility.

The charging infrastructure: the role of CPOs and MSPs

Charging Point Operators (CPOs) such as Ewiva are responsible for installing, activating and managing the charging infrastructure. They are also responsible for intervening later in case of any issues, as well as for normal maintenance. CPOs usually absorb the initial investment to build the infrastructure and interface with public or private partners to obtain spaces where to install the charging stations. For example, Ewiva offers several solutions with different infrastructure configurations to fully adapt to possible logistical (e.g., space available) and charging needs for users (e.g., services near the station).

So, CPOs are tasked with identifying strategic sites where to place stations to make the charging infrastructure widespread. In addition, to enable more and more e-drivers to access the network, they enter into so-called “interoperability agreements” with charging service providers (MSPs); an example is the agreement through which the network built by the CPO is made available and visible through the charging service provider’s app, and thus usable by its customers.

For example, Ewiva to date has already activated more than 40 partnerships with Italian and non-Italian MSPs with the aim of constantly expanding the network to make the infrastructure increasingly accessible to both Italian and foreign e-drivers. To find out more about all the MSPs in the Ewiva network, check the About Us page on this website.

Here are the main cases in which to contact the Charging Point Operator:

  • report charging station failures or malfunctions
  • request information on network operation
  • report infrastructure interoperability issues
  • propose a public or private space in which to place a new charging station
  • propose new services to be offered at the charging station
  • propose technologies for the construction/maintenance of the infrastructure
  • enter into an interoperability agreement
  • make an interoperability agreement.

In the case of Ewiva, in fact, through the Contact page you can submit your request using different channels according to your need. And then to answer the most frequently asked questions on how to recharge with Ewiva, it is possible to consult the Help section.

MSPs: what they are and what they are for

Mobility Service Providers offer the recharging service to end users through apps or RFID cards, without owning or managing their own infrastructure. MSPs formulate the offers for electric charging services, setting their own €/kWh price and proposing solutions based on the consumption of a single charge or in kWh package subscriptions. Thus, it is always the MSPs that handle the payments and billing of charging services.

The “pure” CPO, such as Ewiva, can only directly offer the recharging service when an e-driver occasionally recharges at its infrastructure by paying via credit card or ATM. However, there are cases where the same company plays the role of both CPO and MSP, installing its own charging stations and providing the service through its app.

Usually, MSPs that are also CPOs also make available through their apps the infrastructure of other operators with whom they are interoperable, specifying that these are “third-party” charging points.

Here are the main cases in which to contact the Mobility Service Provider:

  • requesting information on the cost of a recharge or subscription
  • sreport malfunctions related to the app
  • request clarification on how to recharge through apps or cards
  • report issues related to payment or billing