Carmaker bids to sidestep HFO 1234yf for air conditioning to fulfil ‘ambitious environmental goals’
The Volkswagen Group has thrown the gauntlet down to the European Commission by announcing it has chosen CO2 as the future refrigerant for its air conditioning systems.
The Group said in a statement that the CO2 technology, will be ‘rolled out progressively over its entire vehicle fleet’ as it looks to meet its goal of becoming ‘the world’s most environmentally sustainable carmaker’ by 2018.
The move means the carmaker is effectively rebelling against the EC’s attempts to enforce the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive, which came into force on January 1 this year, and risks heavy fines for infringement.
The EC has said that is sees ‘no grounds’ for not complying with the MAC regulations, which impose a GWP limit of 150, immediately, but VW, in league with other German carmakers, has refused to install HFO 1234yf, the refrigerant agreed on by the global auto industry.
Fellow German carmaker Daimler said its own tests had found that the HFO ignited in a head-on collision, whereas the predecessor refrigerant R134a did not.
VW said it is investing over two-thirds of its total investment capital in the development of efficient technologies, drive systems and vehicles, as well as in environmentally sustainable production.
It noted that CO2 technology is ideal for use in ‘specially designed automotive air conditioning systems’ since its GWP value of 1, is 99.3 per cent below the EU specified GWP limit of 150.
The Group did not put a timescale on the move to CO2 technology.