New European Union law requires smartphones, laptops to have easily replaceable batteries
The European Union has passed a new law that requires smartphones to come with batteries that can be easily replaced by the user. The EU had initially submitted a proposal regarding the rules about 6 months ago.
The law isn't specific to mobile phones, it covers various types of batteries, including those in laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, electric vehicles, appliances, gardening tools, cordless power tools, etc. According to a PDF published by the EU, a portable battery will be considered to be user-removable when it can be removed with tools that are available commercially, and does not require specialized tools unless they have been provided free of charge. Any proprietary tools, thermal energy or solvents (heat guns), etc., are considered specialized tools.
European Union passes law requiring portable devices to have easily replaceable batteries
The European Union Parliament passed the law regarding the battery regulations a few days ago, with 587 votes in favor of the change. It has published some guidelines that OEMs will have to follow in order to comply with the law regarding the battery life cycle, design and end-of-life for portable batteries. There are a couple of reasons why the EU implemented the rules.
The main reason being it wants to reduce waste, and promote recycling. This could be very beneficial to protect the environment from chemicals. The other reason why the new law may be necessary is to help consumers, aka the end-user of the product.
Batteries for a phone may not be available a few years after a device has been launched. The manufacturer may have moved on to a different design, the spare parts may have been deprecated, etc. If an OEM battery is not available, a consumer may have to rely on third-party batteries, but not a lot of people do that. Instead, they may choose to abandon the device and buy a new one. This could add up to electronic waste, and is also an expensive ordeal.
Having user replaceable batteries has another benefit. Buying and replacing a battery at an official service center can be troublesome. But if you were able to buy and replace one yourself, you could avoid the hassle and also save some money. The main advantage here is that you could possibly hold onto your device for a few more years. We have seen reports of how battery degradation can result in poor performance of phones, sometimes due to throttling. A new battery could help improve the experience.
While the EU's law is a welcome change, this may come with a few caveats, which will mostly affect the companies that manufacture the devices. Many expensive phones have been designed to be waterproof, so it may not be easy for OEMs to create a device that allows users to pop-out the rear cover, remove the battery, slap a new one in, and close it just like that. It will be interesting to see how manufacturers handle the issue. This will also impact the markets globally, which is awesome.
The EU's battery regulations law is yet another win for consumers after sideloading in iOS and making USB Type C ports mandatory on portable devices, but the law will only come into effect in 2027. So don't expect Apple or Google or Samsung to immediately embrace the change. It may take a while for user-replaceable batteries to happen. Of course, the companies won't be happy to comply with it, and could appeal against it, or at least try to push the timeline a bit further.Advertisement