As stated in our previous article, a common charger in the EU for all electronic devices (obelis.net), European policymakers have been calling for a common charger for most electronic devices for over a decade.
On Tuesday, 04 October 2022, one more step is taken towards this direction, with the European Parliament voting on the proposal for a directive amending the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU, with 602 in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions. After formal approval by the Council and publication in the EU Official Journal, the Directive will enter into force.
The reasoning behind the proposal
A common charger for mobile devices will become a reality in 2024! The reasoning behind such a move lies mainly on a few reasons. The first reason was the large amount of e-waste created (unused or disposed chargers produce 11000 tonnes of e-waste yearly). The money consumers spent purchasing new charging cables for their new electronic devices or using proprietary chargers led to unnecessary purchases amounting to 250 million euros. Finally, the spread of wireless technology has spurred the change indirectly. It wouldn’t be possible to properly regulate wireless charging technology before standardizing the wired one.
The specifics of the updated Directive
By the end of 2024, USB-C charging ports and cables will be mandatory for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU, and from spring 2026, this requirement will extend to laptops as well. The new proposal will additionally affect “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 wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts” (European Parliament, 2022) regardless of manufacturer. Consumers will be able to purchase the devices affected with or without a charger, with additional compatibility information. Finally, all devices with fast charging capability will have the same charging speed, meaning if a charger is compatible with a device, regardless of the manufacturer, it will be charging at the same speed.
The aftermath of the vote and future possibilities
The EU Parliament representatives expressed their satisfaction in the press conference that followed the vote since the proposal resulted from an effort spanning more than a decade and reducing the number of chargers from 33 to 3. Additionally, the representatives stated that standardizing wireless technology would be the next step after this standardization of wired technology.
Of course, these developments significantly affect the electronics market in the EU and have a global impact; it remains to be seen how manufacturers will react after the vote and after the subsequent inclusion of the proposal in the Official Journal that will commence the enforcement period of the Directive. The Member states will have to transpose the rules within 12 months, and after the transposition period another 12 months to apply them. The new rules will not be covering products placed on the market prior to their date of application.
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Regulatory Affairs Department
European Commission. (22 September, 2021). COM(2021)547 – Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2014/53/EU on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment. Retrieved on 12/10/2022
European Commission. (2022). The EU common charger (europa.eu). Retrieved on 12/10/2022.
European Parliament (2022). Long-awaited common charger for mobile devices will be a reality in 2024 | News | European Parliament (europa.eu).Retrieved on 12/10/2022.
European Parliament (2022). Deal on common charger: reducing hassle for consumers and curbing e-waste | News | European Parliament (europa.eu). Retrieved on 12/10/2022.
Obelis Group (2022). A common charger in the EU for all electronic devices (obelis.net) Retrieved on 12/10/2022.
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