By on July 5, 2013

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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27 Comments on “Killer Coolant Wars: France Blocks Mercedes Registrations...”

  • avatar

    You can’t reverse a lobotomy. Good times are ahead for Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      No sh*t.. Let’s hope America doesn’t follow in this foolishness.

      • 0 avatar

        We’re currently running America version 2.1 – the Articles of Confederation didn’t quite do the trick. The Europeans may also need to take a mulligan on their unification efforts. In the mean time, try not to point and laugh – your momma taught you better manners than that.

    • 0 avatar

      “You can’t reverse a lobotomy”

      You can’t reverse ozone layer depletion, either.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep because what was once formed, cannot be reformed.

        Does CO2 as a coolant also scare you since it involves CO2?
        Or are your buddies just not gonna make enough money off of that?

  • avatar

    Maginot Line v2.0

  • avatar

    This whole thing reminds me of an astute observation about EVs. Suppose that electric won way back when, and it was gasoline engines that were just breaking into the market. Would anyone dare buy one considering how flammable and dangerous gasoline is?

    Obviously, this isn’t saying we should just brush off risk, but it does add perspective.

  • avatar

    It’s about time. They have several choices but choose to ignore the law.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      I went to a car show about twenty years ago, and there were a couple of importers with Chinese/Eastern European/Southeast Asian cars. The were talking about importing in less than two years. BAM! OBDI came out, followed quickly by OBDII. The US automakers whined about it in public, but they had a strong hand in the law. The lower-echelon (i.e. less technically competent) companies lost access to the US market, except a couple South Korean car companies.

      I’m not real sure that R1234yf is a technical barrier though. Sounds more like an end-of-patent issue with R134a.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        I understand what you’re saying, but it seems a little political to me. There must other ways to resolve the issue without banning vehicle imports.

      • 0 avatar
        old fart

        I couldn’t agree more , the fact that new refrigerant is so dangerous and is being accepted is pure politics . R134a was sold to us as a wonder refrigerant that will not cause more global warming issues and now all of a sudden is not safe is bull . Hard to believe DuPont chemical is so powerful , there must have been a lot of payoffs. The Germans have come up with a safe refrigerant and it should be allowed to co-exist .

        • 0 avatar

          R134a was never a wonder refrigerant, it’s all about manufacturers’ patents, their lobbyists in Congress and environmentalists who demand marginal benefits at any cost. My old 1980 Buick AC using R12 put out colder air than anything I’ve driven since, and government agencies’ “science” proving ozone depletion is highly suspect. We’re progressively getting significantly less efficient cooling systems in exchange for minor or highly questionable environmental benefits.

        • 0 avatar

          The true “wonder refrigerant” is CO2: high heat capacity and non-flammable. Mercedes is already working on that.

          Oh, wait…the CO2 method has been around for decades.
          Oh, more wait…if it leaks, it might put CO2 into the atmosphere and then ecoNazis would go ballistic..

          But maybe they could harvest it from the atmosphere, like Audi is doing. But that might involve wind energy and hydrogen from sea-water.

          Gee, I wonder what the cost of air-conditioning an automobile will be in 7 years…

          Maybe just open a window,— if they are still able to open by 2020. But the added aerodynamic drag would mean that fuel mileage will go down, and EPA targets could not be met.

          Looks like I’ll have to ride my bike…


        • 0 avatar

          R134a has more inherent danger than 1234yf.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

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

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      It is not being used in the ATS. Only in the XTS at the moment.

    • 0 avatar

      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)

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

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