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EC to get expert view on German refrigerant crash data before publishing results

The European Commission says it wants to get an expert view on the tests underaken by the German transport authority KBA, looking at R1234yf in the event of a head-on collison, before releasing the results,.

The EC is reserving judgement on whether to bring infringement proceedings against the Germans over non-compliance with the MAC Directive until it has had an objective assessment of the KBA tests.

The Commission wants to take a closer look at the crash tests by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), a spokeman for Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajan told the German Handelsblatt newspaper.

The Commission said that as a “confidence-building measure”, it would seek input from an expert from the Joint Research Center and would compare KBA’s result against the research from automotive engineers SAE Internationall, the spokesnman said.

“The main objective will be reassuring manufacturers and the consumers that all means were invested to ensure the principles of objectivity and transparency in the risk assessments,” the spokesman said.

The KBA began investigating the issue in early June with crash tests and simulated leakage of air conditioning, but the results of these tests and studies have not been published. The results are expected imminently.

KBA, the first official body to investigate the validity of Daimler’s claims, has been heavily criticised by both sides over the secrecy of its tests, Reuters said. The Commission said results would only be published after a comparison was made between the KBA’s results and those of previous industry studies.

Authorities in France have banned the sale of new model Mercedes A, B, CLA and S Class. because their use of R134a which does not comply with the MAC Directive. Daimler said that based on 2012 deliveries, the French move could affect about 2 percent of its global sales, or 29,000 cars.

Daimler has said its refusal to phase out R134a is justified by its safety concerns over R1234yf.

BMW is reported to now be using R1234yf in its i3 electric vehicle. However, Japanese carmaker Mazda told Reuters one of its models - the CX5 crossover - had been switched back to R134a.

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