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Why the EU wants all chargers to be USB Type-C

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

If EU lawmakers get 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 comply with the common USB Type-C charging standard? Unfortunately, the answer is a little more complicated than just sustainability and e-waste reduction.


What is the Common Charger Directive and when will it be implemented?

On 7 June 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 range of consumer electronics devices. The directive will be implemented in the autumn of 2024. Unit manufacturers have agreed to a 24-month grace period to ensure hardware compliance.

Does the common charging rule only apply to smartphones?

The common charger mandate will apply to electronic devices that have rechargeable batteries in 15 different categories. In addition, the directive will require manufacturers of all mobile devices, from smartphones and tablets to digital cameras and handheld game consoles to implement USB Type-C charger.

The common charging rule will also apply to laptops. However, laptop manufacturers will have a 40-month deadline to implement the USB Type-C charging interface.

Why is the EU pushing for common legislation on chargers?

Approximately 11,000 tonnes of e-waste are attributed to discarded chargers and cables, according to the 2019 study on behalf of the EU to assess the effect of ordinary chargers. The common charging directive will significantly reduce tons of plastic and copper from ending up in landfills.

In addition to curbing environmental pollution, the Common Chargers Directive is also important from a sustainability perspective. By standardizing the USB Type-C charging interface, consumers can share the same charger 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’s common charging team help consumers?

The directive will also force device manufacturers to specify charging performance with conspicuous labels on the packaging. The forthcoming legislation will “harmonize charging interfaces and fast charging technologies” to make it easier for users to reduce cable and charger jams while maintaining consistent charging speeds across their devices.

Consumers will be encouraged to purchase a high-speed charger to operate a wide range of slow and fast charging devices. EU legislators estimate that this will save 250 million euros for its citizens every year.

The forthcoming legislation also aims to make life easier for potential buyers. Manufacturers will need to insert pictograms on the product packaging indicating whether the device comes with a charger or not.

Why has the EU chosen USB-C as the charging standard?

EU lawmakers chose the USB Type-C interface over Apple property Lightning connection ecosystem mainly due to its open nature. The interface is maintained by USB Implementer’s Forum (USB-IF), which counts over 1000 hardware and software brands within its ranks. It turns out that it is easier to implement a charging standard that is covered by virtually all hardware manufacturers, including Apple.

Apart from compatibility, the USB Type-C interface is also unmatched in terms of power supply. The latest USB PD protocol (or USB Power Delivery) can power up to 240 watts of power through compatible devices. This makes the Type-C charging interface the only one of its kind that can charge devices ranging from meager TWS earbuds to modern gaming laptops that consume over 200 watts of power.

The EU’s common charging directive will have a positive net effect

While Apple has been vocal in its disapproval of the forthcoming EU directive, it is rumored that it has quietly tested iPhones with USB Type-C charging ports. The Common Charger Directive may be bad for Apple’s performance, but it’s good for the environment and consumers as a whole.

#chargers #USB #TypeC

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