Europe to Force Laptop Makers to Adopt USB-C for Charging

USB-C
(Image credit: European Parliament)

The European Parliament has been a vocal supporter of universal chargers with USB Type-C connectors to reduce the amount of electronic waste produced by the bloc every year. This week the European Parliament formally ratified (opens in new tab) the new law under which virtually all mobile electronics sold in the EU in the coming years will have to support USB-C charging.

Starting from 2024, all smartphones, tablets, game consoles, headphones, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, e-book readers, portable speakers, and cameras sold in the EU will have to come with a USB Type-C port for charging. Starting from Spring 2026, the rule will extend to laptops.

The law will apply to all portable electronics that require power delivery of up to 100 Watts, which means that not all laptops will be required to feature a USB Type-C port for charging. So, for example, high-performance gaming notebooks will not need to use USB Type-C charging. Furthermore, it does not look like the EU will force companies like Apple to eliminate their proprietary charging connectors (such as those with MagSafe plug) but will only require all laptops to support USB-C.

The EU's common charger initiative does not end with wired USB charging as the bloc wants to harmonize interoperability requirements for wireless chargers to ensure interoperability tween devices from other suppliers and avoid the technological 'lock-in' effect by the end of 2024.

To help the end user make more informed decisions about which power bricks to buy for their devices, the EU will also demand hardware companies equipped with chargers and electronics with appropriate labels that reflect the capabilities of new power bricks.

The EU believes that universal chargers will help EU citizens to save up to €250 million per year on unnecessary power brick purchases and eliminate about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually in the block.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • Roland Of Gilead
    About time! These proprietry PSU's with various connector types you get with most laptops, are hard to replace, unless going for spurious parts. This is a good thing :)
    Reply
  • Gam3r01
    While in this one case this is a good thing (USB-C is a great format), I dont like the idea of government mandates for things like this.
    Reply
  • gg83
    I love it! This should be a thing for every country.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    Electrically, USB-C is not a good standard for powering a laptop while it's in use. You don't want to be regularly pushing so much power over such a small connector, if you can avoid it. This is why a lot of docks will use multiple USB-C ports to power a laptop. I'd go as far as saying its a completely terrible standard once you factor in the massive oversaturation of unsuitable low-power dollar-store fire hazard phone chargers in circulation.

    But if it were to just to be a requirement that a powered-off laptop can be trickle charged over USB, in addition to its power brick... Then that would be no big deal. Most new laptops can already do that, anyways.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    This is one of the few things I dislike about my new Surface 3 Go...the proprietary power connector.
    Would have preferred USB-C.

    As soon as I got it, I bought a second adapter, just in case.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Why do I have the feeling Apple will find some way to "Spite" the EU mandate like making the USB-C connector "Power Only" and still keep the Lightning Port in their devices alongside a very "GIMPED" USB-C connector.

    You know Apple collects a small royalty for every Lightning connector and port put into any 3rd party device or cable.
    I don't see how Apple would ever want to give up that "Royalty" stream.
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    This means most people will be slow charging not understanding their cables and chargers don't really support their device.
    Reply
  • kjfatl
    Giroro said:
    Electrically, USB-C is not a good standard for powering a laptop while it's in use. You don't want to be regularly pushing so much power over such a small connector, if you can avoid it. This is why a lot of docks will use multiple USB-C ports to power a laptop. I'd go as far as saying its a completely terrible standard once you factor in the massive oversaturation of unsuitable low-power dollar-store fire hazard phone chargers in circulation.

    But if it were to just to be a requirement that a powered-off laptop can be trickle charged over USB, in addition to its power brick... Then that would be no big deal. Most new laptops can already do that, anyways.
    USB-C is fragile and can't supply enough power for a high end laptop. Dell and others make high-end desktops where the power is split between 2 USB-C connectors.
    I would like to see the USB working group make 2 additions to the USB-C standard.
    A standard option for higher Power Delivery voltages, specifically 24V and 42V. 24V to support thermal printer heads and 40V as near the highest Safety Electric Low Voltage for consumers to use. This would allow high end laptops to use a single cable.
    An interchangeable robust connector shroud that holds the connector in place without a screw, but allows easy separation when pulled. This is easy to do, but worthless if not governed by the USB working group.
    Reply
  • kjfatl
    I see that USB P# 3.1 addresses the power issue with 240W max.
    New 28V, 36V, and 48V fixed voltages enable up to 140W, 180W and 240W power levels, respectively.They still need to address the issue of the cable falling out where a screw lock is not practical. (Screw locks are optional in the standard).
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Magnetic lock.
    Reply