The European Union (EU) has passed new rules that will require smartphone and tablet manufacturers to design their products with replaceable batteries by 2027.
The rules, which were approved by the European Parliament with 587 votes in favor, only nine against, and 20 abstentions, aim to reduce the environmental impact of batteries and extend the lifespan of devices.
According to the new regulation, consumers must be able to “easily remove and replace” the batteries in their portable devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and cameras. This will require a drastic design rethink by manufacturers, as most phone and tablet makers currently seal the battery away and require special tools and knowledge to access and replace them safely.
The regulation also covers all types of batteries, from those used in electric vehicles (EVs) to those used in electric scooters and industrial equipment. It sets targets for collecting and recycling old batteries and using recycled materials in new ones. It also introduces a compulsory carbon footprint declaration, label, and digital passport for batteries to track their environmental impact.
The MEPs behind the regulation said they wanted the tech industry to be more responsible about batteries, which are a key component of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
One of the biggest challenges for the smartphone industry will be to comply with the new rules or face losing access to the EU market, which is one of the largest in the world. Apple, which currently sells its batteries inside its iPhones, will have to change its design or risk losing its customers in Europe.
Some experts have also raised concerns about the safety and durability of replaceable batteries, as well as the potential impact on innovation and performance.
However, some consumers have welcomed the new rules, saying they would save money and reduce waste by not having to buy new devices when their batteries die.
The regulation will come into effect in early 2027, but the EU could delay it if manufacturers demonstrate they need more time to adapt. The European Parliament will also assess by Dec. 31, 2030, if non-rechargeable portable batteries should be phased out completely.
– EU: Smartphones Must Have User-Replaceable Batteries by 2027, PCMag, June 16, 2023
– Smartphone brands could be forced to bring back removable batteries, NDTV, June 18, 2023
– Replaceable Smartphone Batteries Are Returning And We Have The EU To Thank, HotHardware, June 19, 2023
– EU passes law for replaceable batteries, EENews Europe, June 18, 2023