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European Commission set to take Germany to court over Mobile Air Conditioning Directive

The Reuters news agency has reported that the EC is now ready to further its case against Germany, following carmaker Daimler’s continued flouting of the MAC Directive

Sources close to the European Commission have indicated the Commission is ready  to further advance the case against Germany for allowing Daimler to flout the MAC Directive. The carmaker is continuing to release new Mercedes models with the refrigerant R134a, despite this having been banned since last January under the Directive.

The carmaker continues to claim that the current only available replacement R1234yf presents a fire risk in head-on collisions, despite the Commission’s own scientific arm the Joint Research Centre, effectively giving the refrigerant the all-clear.

The source told Reuters that the Commission, which has already warned Germany once,  is set to give Daimler a final chance to comply before enforcing the Directive on the German authorities through the courts.

Such infringement proceedings could amount to a fine, but it could also require the recall of all the non-compliant Mercedes cars fitted with R134a that have so far been released onto the market.

Honeywell, the developer of R1234yf, issued a strongly-worded response to the news:

“It is unfortunate that a single automaker’s failure to comply with the EU MAC Directive has taken up a disproportionate amount of the EU’s time and led to infringement proceedings against Germany. Honeywell fully supports the EU’s action because it supports timely implementation of the MAC Directive and will secure significant environmental benefits.

Enacted into law in 2006, the MAC Directive allowed 11 years for the industry to prepare for its full implementation.

Failure to enforce the directive would hurt the environment and put at a disadvantage all the automakers that have taken the necessary steps to comply with the law.

The vast majority of automakers are prepared to comply with the law, and third-party data shows that each year of delay in implementation would prevent the opportunity to remove the greenhouse gas equivalent of four million cars from European roads. “

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