Daimler has continued to refute the safety findings of the carmakers’ research by SAE International, questioning their ‘scientific rigour’. Meanwhile German firefighters call for a warning sign to alert rescuers to R1234yf risks, complaining drivers are ‘guinea pigs’
Daimler has refuted the evidence so far presented by researchers and carmakers into the safe use of the automotive refrigerant R1234yf. The carmaker was giving evidence to the working groups specially convened by the European Commission, as the Commission tries to end the long-running dispute over the safetyoftherefrigerant.
Daimler and fellow German carmakers, along with Toyota’s Deutschland subsidiary currently will not use R1234yf on safety grounds, even though the carmakers own research body SAE International has deemed the risks “well below those commonly considered acceptable both by the public and regulatory agencies”
The stance puts the German carmakers in contravention of the EC’s Mobile Airconditioning Directive, which is why the Commission is determined to end the dispute.
In a strongly worded presentation at the second of three working groups, Daimler questioned the scientific rigour and the assumptions of the SAE findings, while continuing to assert that its own collision tests found further risks.The carmaker also refuted the presentations of refrigerant producers Honeywell and Dupont at the previous meeting.
At the same time the German environmental group DUH and Germany’s national firefighting association have called for warning stickers for the windscreens of cars containing R1234yf, because they believe that the lower ignition temperature compared to the previous refrigerant R134a and the risk of releasing hydrofluoric acid make it potentially dangerous to rescuers in the event of a collision.
According to the German Federal Motor Vehicle Office, some 90,000 vehicles are alredy using the refrigerant on Germany’s roads.
”This is the greatest experiment in the history of the chemical industry. And the drivers are the guinea pigs,” said DUH national manager Jürgen Resch.
Daniel Dahlke, deputy chairman of the firefighters’ body, added: ” R1234yf can be life-threatening for us for rescue services in case of accidents. Together with DUH we therefore demand a clear warning on the windshield of vehicles already on the market with R1234yf .” The type of sticker they propose is pictured.
Both organisations are also calling for ‘the fastest possible transition to the natural non-flammable refrigerant CO2.’