Why the EU Wants All Chargers to Be USB Type-C

The EU has chosen the USB Type-C interface as the future of charging. Is Apple being punished unfairly, or is time for them to make the switch?

If the European Union legislators have their way, iPhone users will be forced to use the same USB Type-C chargers and cables as their Android counterparts. But why is the EU forcing mobile device manufacturers to adhere to the common USB Type-C charging standard? Unfortunately, the answer is a bit more complicated than just sustainability and e-waste reduction.


What’s the Common Charger Directive, and When Will It Be Enforced?

On June 7, 2022, The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement to implement a common charging port for a wide array of consumer electronics devices. The directive will be implemented by Fall 2024. Device manufacturers have agreed to a grace period of 24 months to ensure hardware compliance.

Does the Common Charger Rule Only Apply to Smartphones?

The common charger mandate will apply to electronic devices possessing rechargeable batteries across 15 different categories. In addition, the directive will mandate manufacturers of all mobile devices ranging from smartphones and tablets to digital cameras and handheld gaming consoles to implement USB Type-C chargers.

The common charger rule will also extend to laptops. However, laptop manufacturers will receive a 40-month grace period to implement the USB Type-C charging interface.

Why Is the EU Pushing for Common Charger Legislation?

Approximately 11,000 metric tons of e-waste are attributed to discarded chargers and cables, according to the 2019 study commissioned by the EU to assess the impact of common chargers. The common charger directive will significantly reduce tons of plastic and copper from ending up in landfills.

Apart from stemming environmental pollution, the common charger directive is also important from a sustainability perspective. Standardizing the USB Type-C charging interface will allow consumers to share the same chargers and cables between multiple devices. This is expected to greatly reduce the volume of charging hardware that ends up in landfills.

How Will the EU Common Charger Law Help Consumers?

The directive will also force device makers to specify charging performance with conspicuous labels on packaging. The impending legislation will “harmonize charging interfaces and fast charging technology” in order to make it easier for users to cut down on cable and charger clutter while also maintaining uniform charging speeds across their devices.

Consumers will be incentivized to buy one high-speed charger to service a wide range of slow and fast charging devices. The EU legislators estimate this will save member citizens a cool 250 million euros every year.

The upcoming legislation also aims to make life easier for potential buyers. Manufacturers will be required to incorporate pictograms on product packaging specifying whether or not the device comes bundled with a charger.

Why Has the EU Chosen USB-C as the Charging Standard?

The EU legislators chose the USB Type-C interface over Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector ecosystem primarily due to its open nature. The interface is maintained by the USB Implementer’s Forum (USB-IF), which counts 1000-odd hardware and software brands within its ranks. It turns out it’s easier to implement a charging standard embraced by virtually every hardware manufacturer, including Apple.

Compatibility aside, the USB Type-C interface is also unparalleled in terms of power delivery. The latest USB PD (or USB Power Delivery) protocol can push up to 240 watts of power through compatible devices. This makes the Type-C charging interface the only one of its kind that can recharge devices ranging from puny TWS earbuds to modern gaming laptops guzzling power in excess of 200 watts.

The EU Common Charger Directive Will Have a Net Positive Effect

While Apple has been vocal in its disapproval of the upcoming EU directive, it’s rumored to have been quietly testing iPhones with USB Type-C charging ports. The common charger directive may be bad for Apple’s bottom line, but it’s good for the environment and consumers as a whole.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button