By 2026, this new rule will be extended to include laptops. The new legislation also applies to smaller consumer electronic goods too.
Most consumer electronic goods already come with USB-C as the preferred means of charging and data communication, so this move won’t make much of a difference to anyone but Apple – which will almost certainly now include USB-C on its next iPhone models in 2023 – and Chinese manufacturers of cheaper accessories that can still come with micro USB even now.
Given Apple now uses USB-C for iPad and Mac products, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to change – although the online community is bound to be debating the pros and cons right up until Apple finally makes the transition.
The new rules will mean that one charger can be used to charge a range of small to medium-sized portable electronic goods, with charging of up to 100W. This will enable more manufacturers to consider not including a power supply in the box, reducing e-waste, as people begin to build up a collection of chargers of their own that can be used for future purchased products.
Full details of the changes can be found in the statement below.
Hopefully in the future, we’ll begin to see more standardisation of fast-charging protocols to eliminate the need for different power bricks, car chargers etc, for rapid charging higher-end electronics. With some manufacturers on the verge of launching smartphones that charge at over 200W, it is high time that companies work together – even though this legislation does not require any such moves.
Following Parliament’s approval, EU consumers 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. From spring 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops. The new law, adopted by plenary on Tuesday with 602 votes in favour, 13 against and 8 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 whole 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 now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
Encouraging technological innovation
As wireless charging becomes more prevalent, the European Commission will have to harmonise interoperability requirements by the end of 2024, to avoid having a negative impact on consumers and the environment. This will also get rid of the so-called technological “lock-in” effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer.
Better information and choice for consumers
Dedicated labels will inform consumers about the charging 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.
These new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to 250 million euro a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers account for about 11 000 tonnes of e-waste annually in the EU.
Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) said: “The common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We have waited more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past. This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment. These are difficult times for politics, but we have shown that the EU has not run out of ideas or solutions to improve the lives of millions in Europe and inspire other parts of the world to follow suit”
Today, 4 October from 14.30 CEST, the rapporteur will brief journalists on the outcome of the final plenary vote and the next steps. Click here for more information on how to follow.
Council will 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 would not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application.
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 finally tabled by the Commission on 23 September 2021.European Parliament statement, October 4th 2022