Daimler Appeases EU Over Refrigerant. Zetsche Declares "S-Class For Our Time"

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
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daimler appeases eu over refrigerant zetsche declares s class for our time

Daimler and Volkswagen reached an agreement over an air-conditioning refrigerant that Daimler claimed was flammable and extremely hazardous to one’s health.

Reuters reports that Daimler, together with Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen, will develop a “completely new A/C system that employs non-flammable carbon dioxide as an alternative to the new, flammable HFO-1234yf refrigerant.”

The current R134a used in virtually every A/C system will be banned in 2017, and HFO-1234yf had been tabled as the replacement substance. HFO-1234yf is said to be more climate friendly despite the numerous health risks claimed by Daimler, including risks of fire and toxic gases that occur during combustion. But its maker, Honeywell, claims that Daimler is just looking to save money by not using the more expensive HFO-1234yf.

The EU mandate to use HFO-1234yf is still on the books. Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber told Reuters during the Geneva auto show that Daimler would be prepared to pay the EU compensation for violating the directive, although he stopped short of calling it a “fine.”


Today, Volkswagen announced

“its entry into CO2 technology, which will be rolled out progressively over its entire vehicle fleet.

Entry into CO2 technology will further contribute towards climate protection. CO2 (carbon dioxide) as a refrigerant – also known as R744 – is a naturally occurring gas with significantly lower greenhouse gas effects than conventional refrigerants, and it is ideal for use in specially designed automotive air conditioning systems. With a GWP (Global Warming Potential) value of 1, it is 99.3 per cent below the EU specified GWP limit of 150. “

Derek Kreindler
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  • Stephen Stephen on Mar 08, 2013

    For good or bad it's much easier to file personal lawsuits in the US and to get a class-action case going. In Europe it's the Governments who usually do the suing. Daimler may be thinking it either has to come up w/a separate a/c system for the US-and given its sales volume,ouch!-or hope it never has to face a lawsuit from it's financially better off customers.(And the first time a fire caused by the a/c melts the Botox off of some trophy wife's face will ensure no one will ever buy a Benz in Hollywood again.) One potentially baaad consequence of the US-EU Free Trade agreement is that the EU's regulatory system is more designed to make sure the paperwork is correct,not that the thing being regulated is safe. Since the EU is an artificial political construct,politics plays a huge role in the regulatory scheme and huge corporations seem to benefit quite nicely for some strange reason.

    • See 2 previous
    • Th009 Th009 on Mar 08, 2013

      @mike978 French territories were conquered in the middle ages. People in large parts did not speak French. Same was true of Italy which was created in the 1800s. Or Germany in the 1800s (Prussians and Bavarians did not think of themselves as Germans). United States was a collection of colonies turned into a single country. UK was a battleground of a multitude of invaders with borders running through various places. And even the Ireland was sliced off later as an independent country. It all just depends how far back in history you go. There are some I'd accept as fairly organic ... maybe countries like Sweden or Japan.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 08, 2013

    I'm glad to see the automakers banding together, coming up with an alternative to a bureaucratic mandate. It's all a joke anyway. The soon-to-be-banned R134 refrigerant is marginally less damaging than the freon it replaced, but is significantly less efficient and more expensive. The new Honeywell concoction is more of the same, barely perceptible improvement with much less cooling efficiency at a much higher price. I suspect the band of auto brothers will run afoul of EU regulators anyway, since there's a single producer of the mandated refrigerant, and a single source supplier has ways of persuading regulators to go to bat for it, IYKWIMAITYD.

  • Jacob_coulter Jacob_coulter on Mar 08, 2013

    But I thought r-134 was supposed to fix everything? Now you're telling me it's ALSO bad for the environment. It's almost as if these environmental scientists make it up as they go. Remember the hysteria about global cooling? Could Big Government and Big Business be teaming up. How long do patents last again? Naw, that's tin-foil hat talk. We could be using propane, it would cool better, and is a lot less dangerous than the 20 gallons of gasoline sloshing around in your fuel tank that is piped into a device that lights it on fire. But there's no royalties on propane, it's cheap, and hydrocarbons are icky.

  • 50merc 50merc on Mar 09, 2013

    "hydrocarbons are icky" You can say that again! Thank God we have huge unaccountable bureaucracies like the EC and EPA to protect us from them. You can die just from sticking your head into a bucket of Dihydrogen Monoxide.