The European Parliament overwhelmingly supports the mandatory use of a USB Type-C charging interface. It will be a universal charging port for various consumer electronic devices including iPhone and AirPods. This will take full effect by the end of 2024. The new regulation states that from autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the standard charging interface in Europe. It will be used for smartphones, tablets, e-readers, keyboards, computer mice, GPS devices, digital cameras and headsets. It will also be used for handheld video game consoles and portable devices such as speakers. Starting in 2026, USB-C will also become the standard interface for laptop chargers. Apple’s devices also need to use the USB Type-C charging interface. The EU has been working on this legislature for quite some time.
EU okays USB Type-C charging interface
In the EU parliament, the majority favours the single charging interface. A whopping 602 votes in favour, 13 against, and 8 abstentions. The regulation’s lead legislator, Maltese MP, Alex Agis Saliba from the centre-left Socialist and Democratic Party, said… “This simple solution will save thousands of tonnes of e-waste every year, boosting old electronic reuse of products. It will increase the ease for consumers and reduce unnecessary costs”. He hopes the EU move will set an example for the rest of the world.
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Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-chairman of the commission, said a single-port charger is good for the environment. Also, she believes this will help consumers to save at least 250 million euros a year. According to the European Commission, chargers generate 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste each year. The new rules are expected to significantly reduce this amount. However, this is only a small part of the ocean of e-waste. In 2019, there were no less than 4.5 million tonnes of electronic waste.
Smartphone makers have resisted the EU’s push to standardize charging technology for years. A decade ago, the industry had to agree that it will reduce the number of different charging technologies. There has been some progress but Parliament still does not consider it enough. The committee will also regulate and standardize wireless charging technology within two years after the regulation takes effect.
Apple will be the most affected smartphone brand in Europe. This is because it is the only company that does not use the USB Type-C interface for most of its devices. Many Android brands already use this interface. Thus, it will not be anything new for Android brands.