For the first time in the world, a legislator has specified which standard connection must be used for electronic devices in the future. The EU member states and MEPs agreed on Tuesday on USB-C as the standard charging socket. The agreement only has to be formally decided.
When will USB-C become the standard in the EU?
It is expected that from summer or autumn 2024 certain electronic devices will only be sold with a USB-C connection in the European Union. With this plug, it doesn’t matter how it’s plugged in, and it’s already installed in many devices today. Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for digital, said in a press release from the European Commission in September last year: “We have given the industry a lot of time to find its own solutions and now the time has come for legislative measures for a shared charger.”
A transition period of 24 months applies from the date of the adoption of the new legislation, for laptops 40 months. This should give the industry enough time to adapt.
Which devices will be equipped with USB-C sockets?
The devices that can all be charged with the same charging cable in the future, regardless of the manufacturer, include small and medium-sized electronic devices. They only have to be large enough for the corresponding connection.
This includes cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, portable game consoles, headsets, portable speakers and navigation systems, computer mice, keyboards, laptops and e-readers.
Why will there be standard charging cables in the future?
Around 420 million mobile phones and other handheld devices were sold in the EU in 2020. 38 percent of shoppers said they had had trouble charging their phone at least once because the chargers were incompatible.
Every consumer now owns an average of three chargers, two of which are used regularly.
“European consumers have long been frustrated with incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” Vestager said in the release. In the future, the normal case should be that different devices can be charged with the same cable.
Among other things, the law is intended to make products in the EU more sustainable, reduce electronic waste and make it easier to use different devices.
Standardization is intended to reduce electronic waste by around 1,000 tons per year. The EU wants to reduce the ecological footprint related to the production and disposal of chargers and support the green and digital transition.
Together with other measures, consumers could save around 250 million euros, writes the European Commission in an information brochure.
What will change when buying in the future?
In the future, there should be a choice as to whether you want to buy a new device with or without a charging adapter.
However, the corresponding cable is always included, since it is also responsible for the transfer of data, for example, and is a component that often breaks.
Why wasn’t there standardization sooner?
The EU Commission launched a corresponding initiative more than ten years ago after users of iPhones and other mobile phones complained about the need for different charging cables and the associated so-called cable spaghetti.
Previously, companies failed to find a uniform solution for the charging sockets of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets or cameras.
Criticism of the new EU standard
There is criticism from the industry association Bitkom, among others. He talks about innovations being thwarted. In addition, the new regulation runs counter to the “important principle of openness to technology,” said Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder, according to the Tagesschau.
According to Tagesschau information, Apple has also criticized the EU’s plans in the past and warned of the endangerment of innovations and the creation, and not the reduction, of electronic waste.
Demand for wireless charging as standard
Anna Cavazzini (Greens) told the dpa: “The European Commission should take measures that lead to a standard for wireless charging.”