In a landmark agreement, the European Union has enacted a new law that compels electronic equipment sold in the bloc to include USB-C as its charging port. This applies to “Small and Medium Portable Electronic Devices”, including everything from cell phones, tablets, portable speakers, e-readers, digital cameras, headphones/earbuds to handheld game consoles.
If your device needs to be charged via a cable, it will need a USB-C port. This will allow universal USB-C chargers to work regardless of device and manufacturer, reducing e-waste. It also means these devices don’t need to ship with a USB-C charger in the box.
The law will come into force in autumn 2024 (24 months), but first needs to be approved by the EU Parliament and Council later this year. Laptops are also covered by the law, but they have a longer term of 40 months. This has to do with the different power requirements of various laptops, which will make it difficult to enforce a single standard.
The EU will use this time to come up with standards for chargers that meet these requirements. According to the press release, the new law also mandates fast charging speeds (for devices that support it). Essentially, this allows all chargers to produce the same fast-charging speeds, regardless of the device.
“Consumers will receive clear information about the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to know if existing chargers are compatible,” the release said.
“Buyers can also choose whether they want to buy new electronics with or without charging.”
In the future, the EU hopes to do the same with wireless charging standards, ensuring interoperability in a similar way.
This has actually been something the EU has been working on for over a decade, but is only now becoming law.
Most game consoles today include one form or another of USB-C. Two of the most popular handhelds, the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck, support USB-C charging. Home consoles like the PS5 also allow users to charge the DualSense controller using a USB-C cable/connection.