Abbreviation galore! What do you know about MSP’s, CPO’s and EMSP’s?

15 Aug 2019

Driving electric brings you to a whole new world of abbreviations you probably never heard of before. Like MSP’s (Mobility Service Provider), CPO’s (Charge Point Operator) and EMSP (E-mobility Service Provider). It’s good to know what they mean, but in this article, we’ll mostly zoom into what’s important to know for you (and your wallet).

There is a lot to driving electric, but the most important life hack is probably knowing what MSP would work for you. MSP’s vary in costs. A lot. There are no real regulations yet and a lot of companies make up their own way of creating prices. So, it’s good to make an informed choice. But first things first.


CPO, MSP, EMSP and what’s what

The CPO, MSP and EMSP are the ones deciding the price of your charging experience. The CPO provides the delivery of the charging points, the installation and maintenance, distribute energy to charge points and have breakdown service. For example, CPO’s being New Motion, Innogy, Allego or Ionity.

(E)MSP’s sell mobility products and services. In this case, a charging subscription, the corresponding charging card and/or an app. The payment of your loading sessions will take place via this party f.e. New Motion or Maingau). Some CPO’s also provide MSP products and services, but in general MSP’s don’t offer CPO products and services. Though there are some exceptions, for example, Allego is a CPO, but also offers an app.


From least to most expensive

So, what influences costs? There are a few main reasons your costs can go up or down, depending on your charging behaviour and MSP. Main influences on your costs are:

MSP influence on the price
  • Purchase of the card itself
  • MSP’s business model
  • Service costs of the MSP
CPO influence on the price 
  • Pricing restrictions (Tender funded, subsidies, commercial)
  • Hardware costs of the chargers
  • Charging power
  • Grid connection and electricity supply cost
  • Pricing models:
    • Start tariff
    • Time tariff
    • Idle fee
    • kWh fees
    • session fee


Why your MSP card might not work

No worries, you’re not the only one who’s stood at a charging point not being able to charge. Most common reasons this happens we’ve listed here:

  1. Oops, you forgot to activate your card. Beginner’s mistake, it has happened to the best of us. Don’t make the same mistakes we made and check with your MSP if your card is activated.
  2. The charging point doesn’t have a contract with your MSP
  3. A new card that isn’t registered with the charging point yet. Your MSP can send in card information to help the CPO use your card

Most of CPO’s offer some form of direct payment. At Allego operated chargers, you can, for example, pay with the Smoov app. But direct payments could vary in costs, so be aware of this before you use them. We advise you to contact your MSP about interoperability.


Going abroad

This is where the tricky part comes in. Be aware! Not every MSP works everywhere. So, before you travel abroad, check if your MSP works with the charging points abroad. Ever wondered why this is the case? Roaming is the one to blame. Although interoperability is well established in Europe, it is still not at the level where you can use your card everywhere you go. Through roaming platforms, MSP's can connect with the CPO’s and enable different MSP cards at a specific location. Multiple parties are busy working on improving roaming across Europe.


Important websites to help you find the MSP that suits your needs best:

Become a pro

Allego is a specialist in charging EVs and we aim to make charging as seamless as possible. In our next Pro Charging articles, we will dive deeper into some of the apps you can use on your way. Can’t wait to read more? Go ahead and check the FAQ of Allego.