A development of note is taking place in the European Union, one that seems worthy of discussing even to us Yanks. The EU Parliament has recently voted to mandate that by 2024, portable batteries in appliances, like the ones found in smartphones, must be designed so that, “consumers and independent operators can easily and safely remove them.”
Is this the return of the removable battery? If it catches on, it certainly could be, though, the EU market doesn’t necessarily dictate what happens elsewhere across the globe. We’re only just now learning about the mandate and are unsure how OEMs like Samsung and Apple will navigate it. Could we see different hardware offerings based on the market or would that be too costly?
The EU’s reasoning for such a mandate is perfectly legitimate, as it is part of a larger goal to better the entire life cycle of these battery-powered appliances. Here’s a lengthy quote from EU’s Simona Bonafè, but worth reading.
For the first time in European legislation, the Battery Regulation lays down a holistic set of rules to govern an entire product life cycle, from the design phase to end-of-life. This creates a new approach to boost the circularity of batteries and introduces new sustainability standards that should become a benchmark for the entire global battery market. Batteries are a key technology for fostering sustainable mobility and for storing renewable energy. To achieve the objectives of the Green Deal and to attract investment, co-legislators need to swiftly adopt clear and ambitious rules and timelines.
It’s promising to see that our friends in the EU are actively working on ways to preserve what’s left of our world’s resources. After all, many of the materials we use for the production of goods are finite, meaning we will eventually run out. It’s best to pivot and work within these certainties before it’s too late.
Real plainly, while it’s easy to love the pros that come with non-removable batteries, such as easy waterproofing and sexy hardware designs, if easier user access to batteries for replacing and recycling can help Earth, then I suppose I’m all for it. Again, we’ll have to see how companies respond to this.