The European Parliament and EU Member States on Wednesday approved the European Commission’s proposal for a common charging solution for electronic devices, the EC said in a statement. Starting in 2024, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld video game consoles, audio headphones, headphones, portable speakers, e-book readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, and new in-ear headphones will be required. be equipped with a USB-C charging port. For laptops, the deadline is 2026.
The agreement reached on Wednesday “guarantees the possibility of implementing common loading solutions without delay, especially given that many technological solutions are available and that the industry has had enough time to adapt,” according to the statement. European Commission.
Therefore, a transitional period of 24 months from the official adoption is set to make the charger available to all, for all categories of products concerned – except laptops, which will benefit from a transitional period of 40 months. months.
Some of the new features of the agreement:
• Charging port and fast charging technology will be harmonized: first, the USB-C port will become the common port, which will allow consumers to charge their devices with the same charger with USB-C port, regardless of device brand . At the same time, the harmonization of fast charging technology will help to avoid the practice used by various manufacturers to unjustifiably limit the charging speed and to ensure that this speed is the same regardless of the charger used, if it is compatible with the device. These rules will now apply to the electronic devices mentioned above. In the future, this list could be supplemented by other arrangements, based on a regular market assessment by the Commission.
• Separating the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: consumers will be able to buy a new electronic device without having to buy a new charger, which will limit the accumulation of unwanted or unused chargers. The results obtained and the possible extension of the measure to include the cables will be evaluated during the implementation.
• Better consumer information: Manufacturers will need to provide relevant information on charging performance, including information on the power required to charge the device and whether it allows fast charging. This will make it easier for consumers to find out if their chargers meet the requirements of their new device or to choose a compatible charger.
• Steps to harmonize wireless charging solutions: in view of the rapid evolution of technology and to limit possible future market fragmentation, the Commission will assess the various technologies available for possible future harmonization and call on European standardization organizations to transpose the appropriate solution into a harmonized standard.
“The clutter of different chargers in our drawers will soon be a thing of the past. A common charger is a real advantage for us consumers, being beneficial for the environment as well. We therefore welcome the agreement on the common charger reached today, following the swift conclusion of negotiations between the co-legislators, “said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for” A Europe Ready for the Digital Age “.
For his part, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: “A common charger is a matter of common sense, given the many electronic devices we use every day. Thanks to our strong political commitment, we reached an agreement in less than 9 months. European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices, which is an important step towards increasing comfort and reducing waste. The agreement reached this morning will save consumers around € 250 million a year and allow new technologies to emerge and mature, such as wireless charging, without innovation becoming a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience. . ”
420 million mobile devices sold in the EU in one year
In 2020, around 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. However, due to the incompatibility of chargers on the market, more than a third of consumers say they have experienced problems, although they spend around € 2.4 billion on additional chargers each year. At the same time, discarded or unused chargers account for about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste per year.
The Commission has been promoting since 2009 the implementation of a common charging solution for mobile phones and other similar electronic devices. Although, after years of working with industry on a voluntary basis, the number of mobile phone chargers has been reduced from 30 to 3 in the last decade, this approach has not allowed for full harmonization. Until now, there has been no legal basis for the practice of separating chargers.
Given its significant environmental benefits, it is important to complete the harmonization of the loading receptacle. In addition, the harmonization of the loading protocol ensures that both provisions guarantee full interoperability and bring the greatest benefits to consumers and the environment. These benefits will be amplified by the extension of the list of target product categories.
With regard to wireless charging, the Commission will monitor technology developments and market dynamics with a view to introducing possible harmonization in the future, the EC statement also said.
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