EU Set to Make USB-C Charging the Law
USB-C will be required on 15 categories of devices as early as 2024.
EU lawmakers have reached an agreement on an amendment to the Radio Equipment Directive.
The directive will apply to 15 categories of electronics including smartphones, laptops, digital cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles, e-readers and tablets.
Devices in 14 of those categories that are "rechargeable via a wired cable" will have to have a USB-C charging port if they want to be launched in the EU 2 years after the amendment goes into effect. Likely sometime in 2024.
Laptops will have a longer deadline of 3 years and 4 months . The extra time for laptops is there to agree on the definitions for laptop chargers between 100 and 240 watts. USB-C 2.1 cables supporting these higher charging levels are just now hitting the market.
The directive will not apply to products brought to market before the deadlines, so older iPhones, for example, wouldn’t have get pulled from the shelves
Device makers also must market their devices both with and without chargers int he box, so customers can choose.
What About the Future?
It's possible that companies might do away with a wired charging port altogether, but the directive accounts for that possibility as well. The Commission will ask standards bodies to create a standard for wireless charging interoperability that will then become a requirement.
One criticism of the directive is that it might deter the development of new better charging standards. Commissioner for the EU's internal market, Thierry Breton said, "we have a dedicated team that will keep a close eye on all this and adapt as time goes by."
When Will This Become the Law?
As usual with these big announcements in the EU, this is a provisional agreement between the European Parliament, and the European Council which makes it more than likely that it will pass votes in both bodies. If all goes to plan, it will get published later this summer.