The adoption of new battery regulations by the European Council aims to foster a circular economy by effectively managing batteries at every stage of their lifecycle. As part of these regulations, portable batteries used in “appliances” will need to be removable and replaceable by 2027.
The newly introduced regulations by the European Parliament and the Council will encompass a wide range of batteries, including waste portable batteries, electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries, starting, lightning, and ignition (SLI) batteries primarily utilized in vehicles and machinery, as well as batteries for light means of transport like electric bikes and e-scooters. This coverage will extend to portable batteries integrated within devices such as the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, and ASUS ROG Ally.
While the new EU law does not explicitly mention portable gaming devices as being subject to the new regulation, an EU representative clarified to Overkill that the batteries used in gaming handhelds are indeed included within the scope of the batteries and waste batteries regulation.
According to the document, a portable battery is deemed easily removable by the end-user if it can be detached from a product using commonly available tools, without the need for specialized tools, unless those specialized tools are provided at no extra cost with the product.
In addition to the absence of any need for specialized tools, the initiative also mandates that product manufacturers must provide removal instructions and safety information to aid owners in the replacement of old batteries.
It is essential to highlight that this new regulation will exclusively apply to newly introduced devices in the market. Therefore, the existing models currently being produced will not be required to adhere to these regulations, even if their production continues beyond 2027. This implies that companies such as Nintendo and ASUS will only need to comply with the regulation if they release an updated device in 2027 or thereafter.
Manufacturers have ample time to engage with the EU and advocate for modifications to the new regulation before its implementation. Consequently, there is a possibility that the regulation may undergo changes, potentially excluding the provisions related to portable gaming devices. Only time will reveal whether gamers will have a reason to celebrate or not.