EU agreement on uniform charging sockets | Free press

Chargers for smartphones and tablets accumulate in many homes. The EU is putting an end to this and defines USB-C as a unified socket charging standard for many electronic devices.


Depending on the manufacturer, mobile phones, tablets, headphones and laptops often need different charging cables.

When it comes to smartphones, the iPhone group in particular has so far relied on a unified solution in the EU with its own Lightning connector. On Tuesday, EU countries and the European Parliament agreed that standard charging cables will apply from mid-2024. Details:

Which devices are affected by the problem?

Initially, the European Commission proposed to extend the new rules to six categories of equipment. In addition to smartphones, these were tablets, headphones, speakers, portable game consoles and cameras. In the negotiations, Parliament was also able to ensure that laptops, e-readers, computer keyboards and mice, satellite navigators, smartwatches and electric toys were taken into account. Prerequisite: The devices must be large enough for the corresponding connection. The regulation comes into force later for laptops than for other products.

Will I get a new USB-C cable for each device?

Not necessarily. The device itself should be able to sell independently of the charger and cable. Consumers would therefore be able to decide whether or not they need an additional cable. After four years, the benefits are to be verified and separate selling could even become mandatory.

What is the purpose of the thrust?

On the one hand, consumers should benefit from it – because there are fewer cables in their household, and they also save money if they don’t have to buy a new power supply for each device. On the other hand, electronic waste should be avoided. The European Commission talks about 11,000 tonnes per year for used and unused loaders, of which around 1,000 tonnes could be saved.

Greens MEP Anna Cavazzini also said on the outcome of the negotiations: “It saves resources, protects the climate and protects the nerves of consumers.” According to the European Commission, consumers could save € 250 million a year.

Why are critics opposed to standardization?

Bitkom digital association says innovation is slowing down. Inductive, wireless charging is becoming more and more popular. “The EU Parliament and the EU countries are lagging behind in technical development,” says Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder.

Even Apple switched to USB-C a few years ago in all Macbook laptops. The group just on Monday restored the Magsafe internal magnetic charging connection to the next-generation Macbook Air. Its advantage over USB-C is that the cable simply pops out rather than snapping when you pull it hard.

Why is there no wireless charging standard?

The European Parliament also wanted to deal with this. The compromise now says: “The European Commission should take steps to develop a wireless charging standard,” said Cavazzini, who led the final round of negotiations on Tuesday. Two years were allocated for this. The EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, emphasized that the standards currently adopted could also be adapted in line with technological progress.

When exactly do the rules come into effect?

The plan is implemented in mid-2024. It is considered a formality that Parliament and the EU countries still formally agree on the compromise reached. The rules will then enter into force with a two-year transition period from their official adoption – with the exception of laptops, which are scheduled for 40 months. The European Parliament would like the changes to come faster, but it has not been able to get through here. However, Breton expects manufacturers to adapt their devices faster. (dpa)

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