The European Commission is going to submit a bill that will make it mandatory that smartphones and other devices all have a USB-C port in the future. Fast charging techniques must also be harmonized and telephones without chargers must be sold.
The EC announced this in a press release. In addition to new, wired rechargeable smartphones, it also includes new tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers and handheld consoles, also wired rechargeable. Devices that can only be charged wirelessly are not prohibited. In addition to the USB-C port, it is still allowed to include a different kind of port in the device, although it is doubtful whether manufacturers want to place two ports on their devices. Many manufacturers already use USB-C, but a prominent exception is Apple, although that has already partly switched to this port.
In the area of fast charging, harmonization is also necessary, the Commission believes. The proposal states that all devices that “charge with more than 5 volts, more than 3 amps or more than 15 watts” should be required to support the USB Power Delivery protocol. Other fast charging protocols are still allowed, as long as they don’t get in the way of USB Power Delivery.
With regard to included chargers, the EC wants the option to buy a device without a charger to be mandatory. In addition, manufacturers must be obliged to indicate on the packaging of their products whether a device supports fast charging and with which protocols. It must also be clearly stated how much energy a charger will use at the consumer’s home.
At the press conference, the European Commissioner expressed the expectation that the legislation will be passed by the European Parliament at the end of the year, after which a transition period of two years will follow to give manufacturers enough time to adjust their offer. It can therefore be expected that these rules, if they are passed through parliament, will come into effect around the end of 2023.
The European Commission justifies the decision by arguing that these regulations save resources and money, prevent the build-up of e-waste and increase convenience for European consumers. The Commission further acknowledges that the tech industry has already voluntarily ‘moved from 30 to 3 types of chargers’ in the last decade, but believes that legislation is needed for the final touches.
As for the question of how to deal with new, overall better standards, the EC says:
“Any technological developments in the field of wired charging could be reflected in a timely adaptation of technical requirements and specific standards under the Radio Equipment Directive. This would ensure that the technology used is not obsolete.”