The European Council, the highest political body in the European Union, backed the standard previously approved by the European Parliament, requiring all battery-powered electronic devices to have removable batteries by 2027. So we’re waiting for the return of smartphones with removable batteries.
The European Council’s jurisdiction only extends to the European Union, of course, but global electronics manufacturers like Apple and Samsung don’t launch radically different devices for different regions – European iPhones are unlikely to have swappable batteries, while American iPhones do case is without her. The standard applies not only to smartphones, but also to tablet computers, laptops, electric scooters, electric vehicles and other battery-powered devices.
By 2027, device manufacturers will be able to change the design of their devices so that the consumer can perform the battery change without special skills and tools. Given that the vast majority of modern smartphones are designed as a “glass sandwich” with components glued together, the new normal will change the fundamentals of technology development.
The aim of the law is to create a circular economy for batteries, which means that components should be reused as far as possible. 100 percent full processing will not be achievable, but the region wants to get closer to this indicator. The main theses of the new production standards are presented.
- garbage collection. By the end of 2027, OEMs will have to collect 63% of used batteries that now simply end up in landfill. By the end of 2030, this figure will rise to 73%.
- Recycling. By the end of 2027, 50% of the lithium from used batteries should be recovered. By the end of 2031, this figure will rise to 80%.
- Minimum requirements for recycling. Industrial batteries, SLI batteries and batteries for electric vehicles must contain a certain percentage of recycled materials: 16% cobalt, 85% lead, 6% lithium and 6% nickel.
- Early targets for recycling efficiency. By the end of 2025, the recycling efficiency of nickel-cadmium batteries should be 80%. For all other batteries, the efficiency targets are 50% by 2025.
The consumer electronics market is not expected to change this year. However, in the coming years, the design of smartphones is likely to change – manufacturers will begin to focus on compliance with the requirements of new European standards. It will take years to complete the transformation. For example, it will not be easy to offer IP68 protection to a device with an easily replaceable battery.