The common charging solution promotes the use of common chargers for mobile phones and other portable electronic devices.
What the Commission is doing
The Commission promotes solutions that favour technological innovation in electronic device charging while avoiding market fragmentation.
The voluntary approach did not meet consumer, European Parliament or Commission expectations, so we put forward a legislative approach.
The common charger will improve consumers’ convenience, reduce the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of chargers, while maintaining innovation.
The ‘common charging’ solution
The requirements of the ‘common charging’ solution will apply to all handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, mice, and portable navigation systems as of 2024. These requirements will also apply to laptops as of 2026. Such transition periods will give industry sufficient time to adapt before the entry into application. The main elements are as follows.
A harmonised charging port for electronic devices
USB-C will be the common port. This will allow consumers to charge their devices with any USB-C charger, regardless of the device brand.
Harmonised fast charging technology
Harmonisation will help prevent different producers from unjustifiably limiting charging speed and will help to ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device.
Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device
Consumers will be able to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger. This will limit the number of chargers on the market or left unused. Reducing production and disposal of new chargers is estimated to reduce the amount of electronic waste by 980 tonnes yearly.
Improved visual and written information for consumers
Producers will need to provide relevant visual and written information about charging characteristics, including information on the power the device requires and whether it supports fast charging. This will help consumers understand if their existing chargers meet their new device’s requirements and/or help them select a compatible charger. Combined with the other measures, this will help consumers to limit the number of new chargers purchased and save at least €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases.
The requirements mentioned above will apply to a broad range of electronic devices. This range may be extended further in the future, following regular assessment of the market by the Commission. The Commission will review categories of radio equipment that can accommodate the ‘common charging’ requirements three years after entry-into-force of the Directive and every five years after that.
Additionally, four years after the Directive enters into force, the Commission will report whether an extension to cables of the unbundling requirements and/or mandatory unbundling should be considered based on the experience from the unbundling of charging devices.
Furthermore, wireless charging technology is still developing, currently showing a low level of fragmentation, and a good level of interoperability among the different solutions. It therefore seems premature to set out mandatory requirements. However, to set the way for a harmonised wireless charging solution and to limit potential future market fragmentation, the Commission will assess the different technologies available in view of possible future harmonisation, and will ask the European Standardisation Organisations to translate the appropriate solution into a harmonised standard.
Finally, to complement the common charging solution, we will obtain interoperability on the side of the external power supply that is plugged into an electrical outlet in the wall. The Ecodesign Regulation (2019/1782) covers these external power supplies. The Commission is reviewing this Ecodesign Regulation to, among other things, promote interoperability by introducing corresponding requirements and provide consumers information related to the external power supply.
These two initiatives are therefore complementary and combining them will give the common charger a strong legislative framework.
- Press release on the political agreement
- Proposal for a Directive amending the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU
- Impact assessment report accompanying the proposal
- Press release on the Commission proposal
- Impact assessment study: common chargers of portable devices (December 2019)
- Impact assessment study: unbundling of chargers for mobile phones and similar devices (June 2021)
- Technical supporting study: wireless charging technologies used for mobile phones and similar devices (April 2021)