EU Commission Moves to Require USB-C Charging

In a move that will have significant consequences for developers of a wide range of portable electronic devices, the Commission of the European Union (EU) has proposed the adoption of uniform charging capabilities in smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics.

Under a formal proposal released at the end of September, the Commission is seeking to amend EU Directive 2014/53/EU (also known as the Radio Equipment Directive, or RED) to harmonize charging technologies by standardizing the use of USB-C charging ports. The proposal would also harmonize supported speeds of charging devices and unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices.

The Commission’s move is reportedly part of its overall effort to reduce consumer inconvenience and electronic waste created by the use of different and incompatible charging technologies for electronic devices. The Commission estimates that the average consumer owns three mobile phone chargers to ensure reliable access to compatible charging technologies, and that disposed chargers constitute 11,000 metric tons of e-waste every year.

The Commission’s proposal must now be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. Assuming that the proposal is accepted, it is expected that manufacturers will have a transition period of 24 months to take the steps necessary to comply with the amended RED requirements.

Read the Commission’s proposal requiring USB-C ports on electronic devices.

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