VW joins Merdcedes-Benz in its decision to reject the new air-conditioning refrigerant imposed by the US and choose instead a CO2-based system.
VW said it plans to introduce CO2-based air conditioning systems in its entire fleet, instead of using the new air-conditioning refrigerant developed by US firms Honeywell and DuPont. Although the government clams that the new HFO-1234yf was developed to meet the tough environmental regulation, the tests done by Daimler showed that the refrigerant is highly flammable and that a simple spark under the hood could result in a fire capable of spreading throughout the entire vehicle.
“Over the course of more than two decades in development, CO2-based automobile air-conditioning systems have experienced a number of performance, cost, safety and environmental issues that have made them a less attractive alternative to automakers globally,” Honeywell said in a statement, after Daimler decided to develop a new CO2-based A/C system.
Although the new refrigerant conforms to the new EU directive, it costs 10 times more than the current common refrigerant R134a. Critics of the new refrigerant also argue that HFO-1234yf needs a costly redesign of the A/C systems, might trigger higher indirect CO2 emissions as it needs more fuel to operate and it can cause drowsiness among drivers if it leaks into the car.