Killer Coolant Wars: France Blocks Mercedes Registrations

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
killer coolant wars france blocks mercedes registrations

The fight over the flammable refrigerant takes a new twist. France refused to register Mercedes A-Class, B-Class and SL cars assembled since June 12, even though German authorities have approved them, a Daimler spokesman told Reuters.

Under the EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval system, cars approved in one EU country are supposed to be automatically legal in all.

An EU official told the wire that France blocked the registration because the cars contained a coolant that was not permitted in the EU. Daimler refused to use the coolant 1234yf, saying that it could result in deadly fires. Often dubbed the “killer coolant,” 1234yf is the only air conditioning coolant on the market that conforms to a new European Union directive on greenhouse gases.

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jul 05, 2013

    @Halftruth The US already has this foolishness. It started 50 years ago or so. These things are called technical barriers. Have a look at the French economy and it auto industry, it's ill. Protectionism, they are trying to justify vehicle imports using technical barriers. The French are worried about their vehicle manufacturing industry. There are a significant number of German vehicles sold in France. If the French can reduce 'EU internal imports' they will. This approach utilising technical barriers has worked in the US for a long time, just look at the differences the US uses (EPA, CAFE, Chicken Tax, design standards, etc) compared to the majority of the world, much greater than a refrigerant. This will be resolved, Germany has the money (leverage) at the moment, but the French and the unions/manufacturers will dig their heels in.

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    • Ntron1 Ntron1 on Jul 08, 2013

      @old fart R134a has more inherent danger than 1234yf.

  • Carl Kolchak Carl Kolchak on Jul 05, 2013

    Global Warming is to Science as the Tooth Fairy is to Dentistry.

  • Npbheights Npbheights on Jul 05, 2013

    It's called refrigerant, not coolant. Coolant goes in the radiator. This stuff replaces 134a in the Ac system. And it's already here- it's in the Cadillac ATS and ZTS. Regulators in the US do not mandate its use or care that it's been called deadly.

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    • West-coaster West-coaster on Jul 08, 2013

      Thank you! That was my first thought when I saw the headline, having had various conversations over the years with clueless girlfriends, co-workers, etc. Girlfriend: "I think my car needs some coolant." Me: "Oh, no problem. You can grab a big jug of it at AutoZone for like twelve bucks and I'll put it in." Girlfriend:"Great, 'cause my air conditioner is working terribly." Me: (facepalm)

  • Art  Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jul 08, 2013

    So if this is so flammable, why not just use propane. It is an excellent refrigerant. The guys still making drug deals for R12 would appreciate that. And it doesn't turn into windshield eating acid when it burns.

    • Ntron1 Ntron1 on Jul 08, 2013

      R152a would be the better choice. Less flammable than R290 (Propane, R600 and R600a with excellent cooling capacity, low cost and plenty of supply. The early tests of R152a suggested they would need vents in the case of a collision. The genius engineers thought the wheel wells would be a good place to vent until they realized the brakes were likely glowing hot. 500g of 1234yf refrigerant is far a far less potent fire and toxic risk that a dozen or so other fluids and parts in the engine bay.