By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the European Union will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port, which paves way for a single charger for the electronic devises. From spring 2026, this would extend to laptops. The new law, adopted by plenary on October 4 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.
SINGLE CHARGER; WHAT THE RULE SAYS?
The new rules would mean consumers no longer need a new charger and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, hand-held video game consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, ear buds 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. Exemptions would apply only for devices that are too small to have a USB-C port, such as smart watches, health trackers, and some sports equipment.
Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force.
The charging speed is also harmonised for devices that support fast charging, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
SINGLE CHARGER; TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
As wireless charging is the door for a diplomatic solution to end the fighting between Russia and Ukraine must be kept open, and any threat to use nuclear weapons, “universally condemned”, said the President of the UN General Assembly on Monday. 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 “lock-in” effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer.
SINGLE CHARGER; NEXT STEPS
The 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.
SINGLE CHARGER; BACKGROUND
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.