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German auto organisation urges EC to accept 'parallel routes to refrigerant'

The VDA tells automotive press that it hopes it can continue to pursue CO2 for German firms, while the other carmakers carry on with R1234yf.

Germany’s automotive association - the VDA - is urging the European Commission to allow two forms of refrigerant for car use - CO2 for its carmakers and R1234yf for the rest of the world. VDA president Matthias Wissmann, told influential website just-auto “We think two ways should be possible - on the one hand the refrigerant Honeywell is presenting and on the other the CO2-related one.”

Despite the fact that the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive makes it plain that carmakers should be using refrigerants with a GWP of less than 150, Mercedes Benz and other German firms continue to defy the law by using the high-GWP R134a. The German companies maintain that R1234yf, currently the only refrigerant compliant with the MAC Directive, is less safe than R134a, based on their own collision testing - tests which remain widely disputed by the rest of the industry.

Mr Wissmann said: “We only hope the EC leaves these two ways open - those companies who decide for the CO2 refrigerant should have their way, as well as the others.”

“We are in constant contact with the EC and also through our own government in telling them those companies who decide for the CO2 refrigerant don’t do that because of competitive reasons, but because of safety concerns, which others don’t have,” Mr Wissmann told just-auto.com, “It is also a scientific discussion - people can decide either way. The legal framework for all that is a decision of the EC which relates to the GWP, which should come now to 150.”

The parties will tomorrow take part in the final round of discussions hosted by the EC’s Joint Research Centre, which has effectively been asked to arbitrate on the opposing claims. Both sides will be hoping it leads to a definitive ruling by the Commission on the Directive - one way or the other.

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