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EU proposes regulation to make phone and laptop batteries easier to replace
Published Dec 20, 2022
It could force OEMs to bring back user-replaceable batteries
After implementing a new law to make USB-C the standard charging port for smartphones and devices across various categories, the EU has now proposed a new regulation to make batteries more sustainable and reusable. The new regulation covers the entire battery life cycle, from materials extraction to disposal, and it could force smartphone OEMs to bring back user-replaceable batteries.
The provisional agreement to overhaul EU rules on batteries aims to make all types of batteries sold in the EU easier to remove and replace. It also seeks to provide consumers with better information about the batteries they purchase through labels and QR codes highlighting capacity, performance, durability, chemical composition, and a "separate collection" symbol.
Furthermore, the EU will require manufacturers to develop and implement a "due diligence policy" to address the social and environmental risks linked to sourcing, processing, and trading raw materials and secondary raw materials for batteries. The regulation also lays down minimum levels of recycled materials required in producing new batteries: 16% cobalt, 85% lead, 6% lithium, and 6% nickel.
A press release on the matter reveals that the new regulation will apply to portable batteries, SLI batteries (supplying power for starting, lighting or ignition of vehicles), light means of transport (LMT) batteries (providing power for the traction of wheeled vehicles such as electric scooters and bikes), electric vehicle (EV) batteries and industrial batteries. However, manufacturers will have three and a half years after the legislation passes to design portable batteries in appliances that allow users to "easily remove and replace them themselves."
The requirement to offer user-replaceable portable batteries will be a challenge for tech giants like Apple and Samsung, as most smartphones and laptops currently on the market come with non-removable batteries. The regulation could force these companies to completely rethink their product design and bring back removable back covers on smartphones and laptops to help users easily pop out the battery. But since the regulation is still pending final approval by the European Parliament and the Council, we'll have to wait to see how things pan out.
歐盟進一步加辣！未來會有可換電 iPhone ？
歐盟早前推出強制統一行動裝置介面的法案，要求生產商在 2025 年前，將所有行動裝置劃一使用 USB-C 連接。不過近日有傳法案將會進一步加辣，若消息屬實相信會是用家之福。
在立法通過後，製造商將有三年半的時間重新設計產品，說不定今後或會見到首部可以自行更換電池的 iPhone、iPad 及 MacBook，Samsung Galaxy 手機亦會重新加入可開殼更換電池的設計，惟手機的防水性能卻因應可換電設計而有所減弱。