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German MP calls for EC to pursue Daimler now that KBA has cleared R1234yf refrigerant

Call from Liberal MP Lutz Knopek referencing ‘intentional infringement’ by carmaker proves that MAC Directive argument is not purely about protecting national interests

German Liberal MP Lutz Knopek has called on the European Commission to pursue Daimler now that the German KBA transport authority has confirmed that the refrigerant R1234yf offers ‘no material risk’.

Dr Knopek said: “The preliminary test results of the KBA provide only little new information. Under realistic, internationally acknowledged, and globally standardised test conditions, the new refrigerant is still to be classified as non-hazardous. KBA’s test result confirms the previous risk assessments by the SAE, by the American Environmental Protection Agency as well as by individual OEMs.”

Dr Knopek questioned the relevance of the reference to the refrigerant’s flammability ‘given the chance of ignition of the new refrigerant for each hour’s drive 3 in 1 trillion.’ In comparison, he noted, the risk of a car fire due to any other possible reasons is 1 in a million. KBA’s statement that the new refrigerant tends to be more unsafe is not wrong, but given the very low probability of occurrence, it is of very small relevance.”

He also pointed out that Daimler’s option CO2, is also more hazardous than the predecessor R134a: “The probability of an accident which constitutes a risk to health is – according to assessments by the SAE – 1.5 times higher for CO2 than for R1234yf. However, both R1234yf as well as CO2 can be considered to be safe to be deployed in vehicles.”

Ultimately, he said, the manufacturer holds the responsibility for choosing a suitable refrigerant “according to the specific construction of the vehicle. The Government has deliberately refrained from making technology-specific guidelines. Every refrigerant of a GWP lower than 150 is approved according to EU regulations. The manufacturers have to comply with the law.”

He concluded by urging the EC to pursue Daimler. “The intentional infringement of one manufacturer is justifiably not tolerated by the EU Commission. The Liberal Party will further support this position.”

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