Mercedes test result

Another German automaker has rejected the air conditioning refrigerant that’s scheduled to be adopted by global automakers in 2017. Earlier this month, Volkswagen lined up with Daimler and BMW to support Daimler’s findings from last year that the new refrigerant, called HFO-1234yf, can become flammable.

Volkswagen says it will be rolling out its own carbon-dioxide-based air conditioning systems. The European Union wants to have HFO-1234yf, which was designed by Honeywell and DuPont, replace the coolant currently in use, HFC-134a to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and its global warming potential. Daimler engineers discovered HFO-1234yf could spark a fire under the hood, with the potential to destroy the car and emit highly toxic gas while burning.

An automotive working group – the Cooperative Research Program – was formed last year to study the matter. Daimler conducted its own flammability tests and became concerned enough about vehicle safety to leave the working group, along with BMW. Volkswagen’s Audi division also expressed concern and is now part of Volkswagen’s decision to join ranks with its German allies and dismiss adoption of HFO-1234yf as the new refrigerant.

European Union Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani appears unwilling to accept the decision by Germany’s “Big 3” automakers or a written request from German ministers asking for a temporary suspension of the new EU law. While Tajani said he would listen, he also said that he would begin infringement proceedings against any member state that did not comply with the new rules. “Since there was some information from Germany there was a problem, I am obliged to ask for information, but it’s not giving them time. I am not weak,” Tajani told Reuters.

…Honeywell and Dupont would be holding a billion-dollar monopoly starting in 2017 if HFO-1234yf goes through. They’re bound to support Industry Commissioner Tajani’s decision.

Our stalwart EPA has no official position on the question.

  1. Scott A says:

    The EU will not be the one getting sued when granny gets behind the wheel, turns on the AC and the car bursts into flames.

  2. Phydeau says:

    “Honeywell and Dupont would be holding a billion-dollar monopoly starting in 2017 if HFO-1234yf goes through.”

    “Daimler engineers discovered HFO-1234yf could spark a fire under the hood, with the potential to destroy the car and emit highly toxic gas while burning.”

    Hmm, the opportunity for billions in corporate profits vs the safety of a few drivers who might die in a fiery wreck.

    I think the answer is obvious! (Hint: google “exploding pinto”)

    • msbpodcast says:

      Unfortunately, Nader is not around anymore.

      The accountants* are in charge of the planet now.

      Expect the corporate chiefs to calculate the damages done in terms of payouts, not dead burnt bodies, ruined families and funeral expenses. (And there is something essentially and symbolically so wrong about air conditioner fluid causing people burning to death in their cars.)

      *) Accountants are idiots who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. To them externalities are not willful blind spots but measures that businesses can take to reduce their operating expenses.

  3. bobbo, a student of the self actualized harmonized consciousness says:

    Phydeaux touches on the crux: HOW MANY people might die? aka–just how flammable is this new stuff? How many people will die if the stuff is not used?? I know a good statistical study is not as exciting as a car blowing up and will only be called “lies” by those who can’t even balance their check book, but its always fun to see these issues portrayed in the media.

    Modern Life. Aint it grand?

  4. Dallas says:

    I hope it’s not another CFC fiasco. The world is still paying for that one.

    • bobbo, a student of the self actualized harmonized consciousness says:

      Dallas…. whats that you say??? I almost posted to laud the CFC controls that closed the donut hole. Probably the last GLOBAL WARMING/ATMOSPHERE scientifically based concerted global activity for the general good of humanity that has been accomplished?

      How do you see it?

      • Dallas says:

        What? CFC is the worst invention EVER ! I guess you’re celebrating the stopping of this terrible gas.

      • MikeN says:

        That hole hasn’t closed. Turns out the sun’s influence was more than people claimed. Hmmmm

  5. noname says:

    Stop the madness!

    Has Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW tested C8H18?

    I hear when exposed to air even as low as -40°C (-40°F), it’s a very burnable air mixture! Far too many people have accidentally been burned alive!

    Has Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW tested Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)?

    Far more people die from excess Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) inhalation, which is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol!

    • bobbo, a student of the self actualized harmonized consciousness says:

      Noname–I love your command of things chemical but why should Daimler test DHMO if its not going to be used as refrigerant?

      Not a chemist, and not an engineer, I’m guessing DHMO is a product of combustion within the engine and so the issue is one of having an sealed exhaust system to vent that and other gases to the rear of the vehicle?====which I think is why their concern about any explosive gas being used as refrigerant…. you know? Wrecks the exhaust system if nothing else.

      But I remain subservient to your expertise.

      • noname says:

        oh contraire vieille mon petit frère graisse, Solid DHMO was THE industrial refrigerant of choice for many years; and yet, to this day far too many unawares households and old dilapidated liquor bars still use it!

        Solid DHMO has been known to be a major vector for gastrointestinal disease!

        In fact, solid DHMO is a favorite assassin’s weapon. It becomes virtually untraceable.

        Occasionally some tycoon will float a business plan that gets hyped about mining solid DHMO in regions above 60° north latitude or below 60° south latitude. Because it was the refrigerant of choice for many years and global warming concerns; those plans don’t seem to happen anymore?

        It’s your life, please take the proper precautions and consult the MSDS for proper PPE before use and never exceed DHMO acceptable operator exposure levels (AOELs)!

        With proper care & knowledge, DHMO can indeed be very safe to use.

        LEARN and LIVE.

        I only hope, sharing this knowledge will save life’s.

        • noname says:

          Mixing DHMO and electric cars, now that’s another long story of danger.

      • msbpodcast says:

        DHMO is just water. H2O…

        Its a tired old joke…

    • Phydeau says:

      Noooooooo! Not Dihydrogen Monoxiode! One of the deadliest substances known to man!

  6. BubbaMustafa says:

    Refrigerants aren’t a problem unless released into the air.
    A correctly working unit releases ZERO refrigerant.
    Recovery systems are REQUIRED to service, if brazing joints or replacing components.

  7. MikeN says:

    How about they just use freon?

  8. MikeN says:

    The Dreamliner is still grounded from fire problems with lithium ion batteries. Airplanes have regular maintenance and inspection problems. Now how confident are you with electric cars that will not get the same inspection and maintenance from their drivers?

  9. Glenn E. says:

    Oh yeah. Shrinking the earth’s Ozone hole (which shrunk on it own), one smoldering corpse at a time. I knew Dupont was behind all the “Ozone Hole” propaganda, in order to get its monopoly refrigerant approved by US Congress, over the older, generic stuff. And not we have to pay out way more to keep the tiniest bit of coolant gas from escaping back into the atmosphere. Wherever one does get their car AC serviced. Basically gouging the consumer, after buying the cars. Because you can bet the automakers don’t pay a penny more, putting it together. If it leaks on the assembly line, no big deal.

    This sounds like something that NASA should have looked into, years ago. Like an inexpensive solid state version of AC, without the need for any coolant. It’s been possible on a small scale for decades. But instead NASA chose to look into centering bowling balls in liquid mercury, to get the best finger hole boring position. Tax dollars well spent! Thanks one hell of a lot, NASA. But I doubt anyone’s bowling ball is gonna catch fire and burn them alive. So avoiding putting Dupont out of business? Smart move.

  10. Jesse says:

    Studying by way of one’s good content, will assist me to complete so occasionally.

  11. akrilik ac says:

    If there is a harmful toxic and can be easily to explode then the regulations should find the alternative way to overcome this problem…


Bad Behavior has blocked 7005 access attempts in the last 7 days.