USB-C charger to be standardised across Europe by 2024
Consumers in the EU will soon be able to use a single charging solution for their electronic devices. By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port, with the obligation extending to laptops from spring 2026. The new law, adopted by plenary on 27 September 2022 with 602 votes in favour, 13 against and eight abstentions, is part of a broader EU effort to reduce e-waste and to empower consumers to make more sustainable choices. Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charger every time they purchase a new device, as they will be able to use one single charger for a range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port. All devices that support fast charging will have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
With wireless charging becoming more prevalent, The European Commission is forecast to harmonise interoperability requirements by the end of 2024, to avoid having a negative impact on consumers and the environment. This will also remove the so-called technological “lock-in” effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer. Dedicated labels will inform consumers about the changing characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible. Buyers will also be able to make an informed choice about whether or not to purchase a new charging device with a new product.
In the past decade, Parliament has repeatedly called for the introduction of a common charger. Despite previous efforts to work with industry to bring down the number of mobile chargers, voluntary measures failed to produce concrete results for EU consumers. The legislative proposal was tabled by the Commission on 23 September 2021. The Council will now have to formally approve the Directive before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication. Member states will then have 12 months to transpose the rules and 12 months after the transposition period ends to apply them. The new rules will not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application.
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