If lawmakers in the European Union get their way, iPhone users will be required to switch to USB Type-C power adapters and cables like those used by Android users. Why, then, is the European Union mandating that mobile device makers use the ubiquitous USB Type-C charging standard? While sustainability and minimizing electronic waste are important, there is more to the answer.
What’s the Common Charger Directive, and When Will It Be Enforced?
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a provisional political agreement on the implementation of a common charging port for a wide variety of consumer electronics devices on June 7, 2022. By Fall of 2024, the directive will be in effect. The manufacturers of these devices have agreed to a 24-month grace period to ensure hardware compliance.
Does the Common Charger Rule Only Apply to Smartphones?
The mandatory standard charger specification will apply to 15 classes of electronic devices that use rechargeable batteries. Additionally, the directive will require all mobile device manufacturers to implement USB Type-C chargers, including but not limited to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and handheld gaming consoles.
There will be a blanket ban on using proprietary laptop chargers. Laptop makers, however, will have 40 months to switch to the USB Type-C charging standard.
Why Is the EU Pushing for Common Charger Legislation?
According to a 2019 EU-commissioned study evaluating the impact of common chargers, approximately 11,000 metric tons of e-waste can be attributed to discarded chargers and cables. Thanks to the common charger directive, a lot fewer tons of plastic and copper will be thrown away.
The common charger directive is crucial from a sustainability standpoint, and not just because it helps reduce pollution. By adopting the USB Type-C charging interface as a standard, consumers will be able to use the same power adapters and cables for a wide variety of electronic devices. Consequently, this should significantly cut down on the amount of discarded charging equipment.
How Will the EU Common Charger Law Help Consumers?
Device manufacturers will also be required by the rule to clearly label their products with information about charging performance. To help users reduce cable and charger clutter and keep charging speeds consistent across devices, pending legislation will “harmonize charging interfaces and fast charging technology.”
There will be incentives for consumers to purchase a single high-speed charger that can power both slow and fast chargers. According to EU legislators, this will result in an annual savings of 250 million euros for EU citizens.
The pending legislation hopes to do the same thing for prospective purchasers. Manufacturers will have to include icons on packaging to indicate whether or not a charger is included.
Why Has the EU Chosen USB-C as the Charging Standard?
Legislators in the European Union favored the USB Type-C interface over Apple’s Lightning connector ecosystem because of its superior openness. The USB Implementer’s Forum (USB-IF) is in charge of the interface, and it includes over a thousand different companies that produce hardware and software. As it turns out, adopting a charging standard supported by the vast majority of hardware makers (including Apple) is simpler.
The USB Type-C interface is not only universally compatible, but also offers the highest power delivery efficiency of any interface currently in use. Newer devices that are USB Power Delivery (PD) compliant can receive up to 240 watts of power. As a result, the Type-C charging interface is the only one of its kind capable of recharging everything from tiny TWS earbuds to high-powered gaming laptops that consume more than 200 watts. If you liked this, check out 240 Hz monitor details and do you need to buy one.