The European Parliament adopted on Tuesday a bill to implement a single, universal charger from autumn 2024. The single charger will apply to smartphones as well as several other electronic devices. It will also be possible to buy the devices without a charger.
The USB-C type will be the single charger for a range of electronic products, except for electronic toothbrushes and razors due to compatibility issues. A universal charger for laptops will be implemented in 2026. The text was adopted with a large majority: 602 votes in favour, 13 against and eight abstentions.
"As of autumn 2024 the time when we had to fight with many different chargers will start becoming a memory of old, strange times of unnecessary costs, waste and inconvenience," tweeted EU Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
The new rules will mandate all manufacturers to offer a common charging solution by the end of 2024 for all new mobile phones, tablets, cameras, and earphones sold in the EU. The new rules aim to make people's lives easier as well as reduce e-waste.
A bill long in the making
Industry actors, such as Apple, previously opposed the legislation, arguing that it would stifle innovation. EU lawmakers, therefore, needed to create a bill to impose the obligation on them.
"Twelve or thirteen years ago, there were 33 kinds of chargers, just for smartphones!," said the Maltese MEP and lead negotiator on the file Agius Aliba in Le Soir. "In the meantime, the market has tightened for telephones, but we are still very far from being able to connect all our equipment to the same cable..."
- 'One size fits all': EU secures deal on universal charger from 2024
- One charger to rule them all? MEPs agree on common charger
Aliba added the bill will oblige manufacturers to offer consumers a choice between buying an electronic device with a charger, and an option with the charger alone. Charging speed will also be harmonised across the EU to enable faster charging.
The bill discussed on Tuesday is the result of negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council.