Industry Week reports the EC said Germany has “infringed EU law” and faces court action by allowing Daimler to use an older refrigerant that emits potent greenhouse gases.
Since last year, EU law has required carmakers to use R1234yf, a refrigerant that causes less pollution than R134a, which is used in the new Mercedes.
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.
In June 2013 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.
Honeywell, which makes the refrigerant, says the SAE study “leaves no doubt” that R1234yf is safe for use in vehicles.
France banned the new Mercedes in July 2013 because they use the older, more polluting coolant.
In Germany, however, Daimler received permission to keep using R134a.