In early 2020 the European Commission tested the idea and it finally went ahead with 582-40 votes in favor. The single charger was sooner or later going to be a reality in the European Union. Now the European Commission is about to propose legislation for it.
As reported by Reuters, this coming Thursday the European Commission will propose legislation for the single charger in the European Union market. If all goes according to plan, the proposal will be adopted next year and member countries will have one year to transpose it into national legislation.
Once the legislation is national in each member country, manufacturers will have another extra year to implement it. Ultimately, we will see the new law become a reality probably in mid-2024, when manufacturers will have to launch their new phones and other devices with a single standard.
A single charging point and goodbye to the charger in the box
The idea behind this legislation is to achieve a single standard that will allow consumers to use universal and brand-independent chargers, as well as a single charger in new generations of products. The aim is to reduce the environmental and economic impact of having multiple different chargers. According to the European Commission, we have gone from 30 different standards in 2009 to 3 today, but there is still room for further reduction.
The law is focused on smartphones, tablets, headphones, cameras and speakers. Devices such as e-readers or wireless chargers will in principle be exempt from this law.
An important point to bear in mind is that a single standard is sought for the device port and not for the charger itself. Chargers are not completely free either, manufacturers will have to stop selling a new charger with every smartphone, instead they will have to offer consumers the possibility of using an old one. This is something that some manufacturers already do, such as Apple, which only offers the cable in the box of the new iPhones.
Speaking of Apple, it is actually the main opponent to this new legislation from the European Commission. The three ports that currently dominate the market are USB-C, microUSB and Apple’s Lighting. While most manufacturers have already moved to USB-C from microUSB, Apple is the only one still maintaining a proprietary port and requiring proprietary branded chargers and cables. They claimed in 2020 that this law “stifles innovation,” with a lengthy 92-page study done by an economic analysis firm. And paid for by Apple.