Daimler has declared that it will continue to use HGC134a, an air-conditioning coolant with a global warming potential (gwp) nearly 1,500 times greater than CO2. The industry standard is now to use HFC1234yf, which has a gwp of just 4, but the car manufacturer claims that it has conducted new tests that suggest it is inflammable at very high temperatures.
EU Commissioner Antonio Tajani confirmed in response to a parliamentary question from UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies that he would start infringement procedures against Member States that had not complied with the new EU rules from 1 January 2013. However, he also conceded that the Commission was analysing a request by the German authorities to find a special solution for Daimler.
Mr Davies commented:“For years, Daimler has refused to give a straight answer about how it intends to comply with the legislation on mobile air conditioning. Now it wants to delay its implementation by stirring safety fears that the new eco-friendly refrigerant can ignite at extremely high temperatures. It may be news to Daimler – but so does petrol!
“The new coolant is more costly but is already being used by many manufacturers. The suspicion is that Daimler is seeking to gain a competitive advantage by its refusal to comply.”
New EU requirements to install low carbon coolants in all passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were originally due to come into force on 1 January 2011. However, manufacturers were given until 31 December 2012 to ensure the supply of the new coolant.
Notes to editors:
Chris Davies’ parliamentary question and the Commission’s response can be found here:
Chris Davies MEP was a shadow rapporteur for the 2006 mobile air-conditioning (MAC) directive.