The German environmental authority UBA has asked the European Commission for a two year extension to the MAC Directive so that its carmakers can develop a CO2 alternative to HFO 1234yf.
The move reported by news agency Reuters, is the latest twist in the increasingly complex saga of the German response to the mobile air conditioning regulations.
As RAC went to press, carmakers Daimler, Audi and BMW were still steadfastly refusing to fall in line over the use of HFO 1234yf, risking heavy fines for the German authorities for infringing the terms of the MAC Directive.
Many industry observers believed that the matter had been put beyond doubt by the tough stance of the European Commission which wants all member states to comply the Directive immediately.
As long ago as November Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard was saying that carmakers ‘had had enough time’ to get their act together on the Directive.
But Daimler has clung to its contention that it cannot use HFO 1234yf, because in its own tests simulating a head-on collision, the HFO ignited, whereas the previous refrigerant R134a didn’t.
The other two carmakers are apparently uniting with its German colleagues.
The news from UBA was particularly surprising given that it followed hot on the heels of a letter from the Commission to the German Ministry of Transport tell the Ministry it could not have the initial six-month extension it requested for the use of R134a.
In the letter the head of the EC’s Enterprise and Industry directorate Philippe Jean reiterated to the German Ministry of Transport that the previous justification for extensions was no longer relevant, since they related to the supply issues with HFO 1234yf.
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