A New EU Regulation Will Force Manufacturers to Make Batteries Removable Again.

Forcing USB-C and now replaceable batteries? The EU is quite a force to be reckoned with.

EU Parliament. Courtesy of the European Union

The EU has launched an initiative addressing the massive number of e-wastes filling up every landfill every year. The initiative included forcing USB-C on all manufacturers of electronic devices, including Apple. There are rumors that the iPhone 15 series will come with a customized USB-C specific for Apple only.

Now that the bill has turned into law, the EU now intends to force manufacturers to make batteries replaceable again. Replaceable batteries have faded over time in favour of more premium designs. These batteries are hard to implement on metallic or glass backs and using plastic would just make phones look cheap, even if they are polished to mimic aluminum or glass.

The legislation had overwhelming support with 587 in favour, 9 against, and 20 abstentions. This piece of legislation was first presented in 2020. According to the legislation’s latest press release, there would be several measures taken in designing electronic devices including smartphones and laptops with removable batteries. The measures include, but are not limited to:

  • A compulsory carbon footprint declaration and label for electric vehicles (EV) batteries, light means of transport (LMT) batteries (e.g. for electric scooters and bikes), and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity above 2kWh;
  • Designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can themselves easily remove and replace them;
  • digital battery passport for LMT batteries, industrial batteries with a capacity above 2 kWh, and EV batteries;
  • Stricter waste collection targets: for portable batteries – 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030; for LMT batteries – 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031;

The overall goal of the legislation is to increase recycling efforts and reduce e-waste. Another goal is to improve the lives of consumers by making batteries and other parts easily replaceable by the average consumer.

Once again, Apple is heavily affected by this policy. The company is infamous for its poor self-repair record as its iPhones are hard, if not impossible, to be self-repaired. While the company offers self-repair kits, it’s for the experts working at Apple to use, not the consumers.

Other regulations that Apple are forced to comply with (or else leave the EU market) are the sideloading of apps and, as mentioned, the use of USB-C ports instead of the proprietary Lightning port.

Source: European Union Council