USB-C for everyone: EU presents draft law for uniform charging cable

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USB-C for everyone: EU presents draft law for uniform charging cable

For years, the EU Commission has been pursuing the goal of getting manufacturers of smartphones and tablets to rely on a uniform standard for charging cables. Now it is getting concrete, because today the draft law was presented, which is supposed to oblige manufacturers to use the USB-C connector.

USB-C as standard for charging cables

USB-C is set to become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and portable video game consoles“, Says the official press release of the EU Commission. According to the formulated regulations, the USB-C plug type should be used by all manufacturers so that consumers can charge every device with the same charger. However, before the planned law can come into force within the framework of the revised Radio Equipment Directive, the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers must approve. If this happens, manufacturers will be granted a transition period of 24 months for adjustment.

In addition, it is proposed to decouple the sale of devices and chargers. The bundled sale of a device with the associated charger is not yet prohibited.

Power supplies are still left out

For the time being, the EU template only affects the connection type on the device. The standardization on the part of the power supply, i.e. at the other end of the charging cable, will only be “Be the subject of a review of the Commission’s Ecodesign Regulation“, Which is to be initiated in the course of the year.

Save costs, nerves and resources

The aim of the campaign is, among other things, to make everyday digital life easier for users. Instead of various different cables and plugs, only the USB-C connection, which is already used in many smartphones, should be used. The standardization is also intended to reduce resources and costs: 980 tons of electronic waste and consumer spending of 250 million euros could be saved per year, according to media reports in advance.

The EU draft law covers the following points:

  • A harmonized charging port for electronic devices: USB-C is introduced as a uniform port. This allows consumers to charge their devices with the same USB-C charger regardless of the device brand
  • The harmonized fast charging technology helps to ensure that the individual manufacturers do not limit the charging speed unjustifiably and that the charging speed is identical when using a compatible charger.
  • The unbundling of the sale of chargers and electronic devices: Consumers can purchase a new electronic device without a new charger. This will reduce the number of accidentally acquired or unused chargers. If fewer new chargers are produced and disposed of, the amount of electronic waste will decrease by nearly a thousand tons per year.
  • Improved consumer information: Manufacturers are required to provide relevant information about the charging capacity, such as the capacity required by the device, and to provide information on whether fast charging is supported. This enables consumers to better understand whether their previous chargers meet the requirements of their new device or whether it is easier to choose a compatible charger. In conjunction with the other measures, this would help reduce the number of new chargers being bought and save consumers EUR 250 million a year on unnecessarily purchased chargers.

The long war for uniform chargers

The EU’s struggle for a uniform standard for charging mobile phones has been going on for more than a decade. After all, through initially voluntary agreements with the industry, the number of connection types has been reduced from the original 30 to three: USB-C, micro-USB and the Lightning connector that is only used by Apple. However, Apple wants to stick to the latter and even sees a uniform standard as a hindrance to innovation. The planned EU law is therefore likely to annoy Apple in particular.

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