Europe rebound at risk due to refrigerant debate image

Things are “heating” up on the safety of the air conditioning refrigerant HFO-1234yf as the failure of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to make a definitive ruling is bad news for the car industry.

Just as sales are just starting to rebound, the controversy surrounding this particular element simply gives customers another reason to delay their purchases. The report in question now says HFO-1234yf is more dangerous than the coolant it is supposed to replace, R134a, but the substance is not dangerous enough to be forcibly pulled out from the market.

This really isn’t the kind of news potential customers would rather hear, as they have to accept that HFO-1234yf can be deadly under certain circumstances. For instance, one of the four models crash tested by the KBA burst into flames and emitted a considerable amount of toxic hydrogen fluoride.

In the mean time, the EU has banned R134a from new-model vehicles because it is much worse for the environment than HFO-1234yf. For example, French customers can’t be delivered their new Mercedes-Benz A, B or CLA class models because they still use R134a. Truth is the industry really needs a definite ruling on the matter, and they need it fast, as the sales are just starting to rebound.