USB-C connector for charging: Europe moves on to make it the standard

Yesterday there was a new important step forward in the articulated legislative process which – hopefully – will be able to make the USB-C charging connector the standard one for many electronic devices. In the past few hours, the Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament has voted with 43 votes in favor and 2 against the amendment of the Electronic Equipment Directive which will introduce relevant innovations.

The new rules create the conditions under which i consumers will no longer need a new charger and cable by purchasing a small to medium sized electronic device. Mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and earphones, game consoles and portable speakers will need to have a charging port USB-C. The only exception will be devices that are so small that they do not allow the integration of the USB-C port (e.g. smartwatches, health trackers and sports equipment). The aims of the speech were again and clearly illustrated by the speaker Alex Agius Saliba:

Like half a billion carried device chargers shipped to Europe each year, generating 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of electronic waste, a single charger for cell phones and other small and medium-sized electronic devices would be a win-win for everyone. It will help the environment, contribute to the reuse of old electronics, save money and reduce unnecessary costs and inconvenience for businesses and consumers.

MEPs also agree that a information enhancement provided by electronic device manufacturers to consumers with appropriate labels on how to recharge and on the possible insertion of the charger in the package. Another goal is to achieve complete interoperability of the various technologies for wireless chargingto be reached by the end of 2026. The rapporteur specified in this regard:

We propose a comprehensive policy intervention, based on the Commission’s proposal, calling for the interoperability of wireless charging technologies by 2026 and improving the information provided to consumers with dedicated labels.

Work is also being done to extend the scope of the proposal revision of the Electronic Equipment Directive up to including laptops, which should thus adapt to the new rules.

The legislative process is well advanced: the European Parliament will have to approve the project in the May plenary session. Then the MEPs will be ready to start talks with the individual governments of the European Union to arrive at the definitive form of the legislation.

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