How The European Union Wants To Make Batteries Easier To Replace

How The European Union Wants To Make Batteries Easier To Replace

The European Union is on a mission to standardize modern technology, and in that effort, is now looking to regulate lithium-ion batteries.

The European Union (EU) is making headlines for its charging standardization regulations, but it’s eying a different avenue of technology to regulate: batteries. The large body that governs most of Europe — with England recently becoming a notable exception — creates some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the world. Its regulations have the power to shift the plans of large tech corporations, marked by Apple’s supposed confirmation that it would be forced to add USB-C to the iPhone. That regulation is ready to go into effect by the end of 2024, with more standardization and regulatory proposals still in the works.


Back in Sept. 2022, the EU reached a provisional agreement to “overhaul rules on batteries,” according to a press release. Just about every rechargeable product has a battery, so proposed battery legislation would have a wide impact throughout the entire technology industry. The proposal covers the environmental impacts of batteries, labeling initiatives, production standards, and replacement or repair requirements. Though the deal was reached earlier this year, it’ll likely be a while before these battery regulations start to impact products and repair choices.

Related: Apple Is No Longer Required To Use USB-C On The iPhone 15, But It Should

Current EU Deal Without Specific Regulatory Details

iPhone 14 Teardown by iFixit
Photo Credit: iFixit

Like many EU regulatory proposals, the agreement is extremely vague in scope at this point. As time goes on, the governing body will refine the details and decide on the specifics before the standards go into effect. Right now, the agreement reads more like a statement of the Union’s goals rather than firm regulations.

The most concrete part of the agreement is the upcoming battery standards that will impact how information is presented regarding rechargeable batteries. All batteries “will carry labels and QR codes with information related to their capacity, performance, durability, chemical composition, as well as the ‘separate collection’ symbol,” according to the proposal. This means a carbon footprint label will be required on all batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs), presumably so consumers can decide whether their EV is really better for the environment.

But even that section has ambiguous points, like the requirement concerning right-to-repair for consumer appliances. The EU says that around three years after the agreement goes into effect, appliance batteries “must be designed so that consumers can easily remove and replace them themselves.” It’s unclear what “easier” means in terms of product repair or what the term “consumers” really means.

Does the EU intend for batteries to be designed so that the average consumer is able to replace their batteries themselves, or is it just to open the door for independent, third-party, and knowledgeable repair technicians? The answer might not be revealed for some time, as European Parliament and Council has to still approve the deal formally. After that, some governing European Union entity will likely be tasked with creating specific standards to rule the technology industry’s use of rechargeable batteries.

More: Older Samsung Phones Seem To Have A Swelling Battery Issue

Source: European Union

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