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France Bans Mercedes Over GHG Concerns

MercedesFrance has banned the latest models of Mercedes because they use an air conditioning refrigerant that the European Union says emits potent greenhouse gases.

A Mercedes spokeman told Agence France-Presse that only new vehicles are subject to the ban.

Since Jan. 1, the EU has required carmakers use R1234yf, a refrigerant that causes less pollution than R134a, which is used in the new Mercedes.

According to the EPA, R134a does not deplete the ozone layer, but has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) that is approximately 1,400 times greater than that of CO2. R1234yf has a GWP of 4 and reduces global warming impact by 99.7 percent compared with R134a.

But Mercedes automaker Daimler won’t use R1234yf because it says it’s too flammable. In September 2012, Daimler announced it would stop using the newer refrigerant and said in some head-on collision test scenarios, R1234yf burst into flames.

Last month, a study — and automakers including General Motors, Ford and Toyota — concluded that the low-global-warming-potential R1234yf air conditioning system is safe for use in cars. Automotive engineering association SAE International initiated the evaluation in response to Daimler’s safety concerns.

The SAE study calls Daimler’s testing that raised questions about the refrigerant’s flammability “unrealistic” and says all 11 global automakers that participated in the project agree with its conclusions. The participating car companies include Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.

Honeywell, which makes the refrigerant, says the SAE study “leaves no doubt” that R1234yf is safe for use in vehicles.

In Germany, however, Daimler received permission to keep using the older gas, the Telegraph reports. The newspaper says France is the only county to raise an objection to the carmaker’s continued use of R134a.


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2 thoughts on “France Bans Mercedes Over GHG Concerns

  1. About 10% R134A could be mixed in to the R1234yf and it would meet standards. Flammability would go away. They are drop in replacements for each other. The company has no excuse.

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