The European Union takes a step closer to the universal USB-C charger – Les Numériques

You will soon be going on vacation with a single charger for all your electronic devices. In any case, this is the wish of the European Parliament, which has just clarified the contours of the directive imposing USB-C as the universal charging standard. The dream of a universal charger is getting even closer. On April 20, 2022, MEPs validated the new rules that want to make USB-C the new standard for all mobile devices. More precisely, it was the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection which approved “the revision of the directive relating to radio equipment” by 43 votes in favor and 2 against. Once the next parliamentary session in May has passed, Brussels and the Member States will be able to begin discussions on the final version of the text, the final step before the application of the law.” Knowing that 500 million chargers for portable devices are shipped each year in Europe and generate between 11,000 and 13,000 tonnes of e-waste, a single charger for mobile phones and other small to medium sized electronic devices would benefit everyone,” said Alex Agius Saliba, l elected in charge of the project. The idea is as much to simplify consumers’ lives by offering a single charger for all electronic gadgets as to reduce the quantity of electronic waste generated by the proliferation of chargers. With this new directive, it will be mandatory for manufacturers to specify whether their device is accompanied by a charger and to give information on its charging characteristics (recommended volts and amps). The possibility of buying a device without a charger should also be offered. What about the iPhone? The scope of the agreement has also been extended. It is now all “mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, earphones and audio headsets, portable video game consoles and portable speakers” which will have to be equipped with a USB-C port, and this “regardless of their brand”. Only “devices too small for this type of port” (connected watch, activity sensors) will be spared. “We are proposing a real global policy based on the proposal of the Commission […] We are also expanding its scope by including more devices, including laptops, which will have to align with the new rules”, pointed out Alex Agius Saliba. As often, we can guess in these statements small spades against Apple which is one of the rare smartphone manufacturers not to have already adopted USB-C, preferring the proprietary Lightning port. But after 10 years of existence, Apple’s connectivity could well disappear from iPhones in favor Brussels is also on the spot since “the question of the interoperability of wireless charging technologies” should be the subject of discussions by 2026.