Refrigerant producer accuses German carmaker of putting up a smokescreen over HFO 1234yf flammability concerns
Refrigerant producer Honeywell has question why Daimler continues to balk at the ‘safety risks’ of HFO 1234yf when the carmaker could make simple design changes to its cars to avoid the problem altogether.
Honeywell European government affairs manager Tim Vink told Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper that the carmaker could make design changes to its air conditioning to head off any concerns it has over the flammbility or toxicity of the refrigerant.
Daimler has refused to install HFO 1234yf in new models, despite it being the only refrigerant currently approved to meet the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive, because it believed its tests showed a risk of ignition of the new gas in a head-on collision. The stance comes despite the fact that car research group SAE International gave the HFO its backing following a battery of new tests in the wake of the Daimler move.
“We are asking ourselves why Daimler doesn’t try to constructively resolve the problem instead of going it alone in refusing to use 1234yf,” Mr Vink told Handelsblatt.
He said minor changes to the Mercedes air conditioning system could be made to allow the gas to escape quickly in the event of an emergency, and that could resolve Daimler’s concerns.
Mr Vink said: “It would cause only minimal costs per year, other manufacturers who have already taken that step tell us.”
Daimler continues to use R134A in all its new models, despite it having too high a GWP to meet the threshold for the MAC Directive. The French government has refused to register new Mercedes A,B and CLA cars because it considers the new cars noncompliant with the Directive, a stance explicitly backed by the EC last week. The European Commission has given the German government until August 20 to explain its decision, which is the first step before it can bring EU infringement proceedings.
“It would cause only minimal costs per year, other manufacturers who have already taken that step tell us,” Vink said.