Germany’s final report on risks posed by a new car coolant made by Honeywell has been issued to the European Commission, clearing the way for a decision on whether Berlin had sufficient cause to allow Daimler to ban it and flout EU law.
Daimler banned from its luxury cars the air-conditioning refrigerant made by Honeywell and its partner DuPont which has a far lower potential to warm the climate than an older chemical still used by Daimler’s Mercedes brand despite an EU-wide phase out that began in January.
The EU’s scientific research arm JRC is expected to analyse the report by the German federal motor transport authority KBA in the next few weeks and advise whether the coolant is indeed flammable enough to cause material risks, as Daimler says.
The new Honeywell chemical, dubbed HFO-1234yf, is designed to fulfil an EU directive, which governs the use of harmful greenhouse gases in mobile A/C, or MAC, systems in cars.
At stake is not just a potentially embarrassing infringement process against Berlin for allowing Daimler to disregard the EU’s so-called “MAC Directive”, but – should it be deemed hazardous – the possible loss of billions of dollars in future revenue for Honeywell and Dupont, who have secured an effective monopoly on its supply until 2030.