Last Update April 19th 2013
HFO-1234yf: new website section!
From October 19 2012 , this website will feature a new HFO-1234yf website section for subscribers ( login required) to the website. This will contain all relevant HFO-1234yf documents such as MSDS, convention presentations, press releases, official statements by refrigerant manufacturers, car makers, equipment makers ( e.g. user manuals) and governmental- and other institutions. Contact us for more information.
HFO-1234yf Developments until February 15th
On September 25th 2012 Daimler has officially announced that it will not be using the new HFO refrigerant R1234yf in its vehicle air conditioning systems. Instead, it says it wishes to continue using R134a. Following its own independent safety tests, the German car and truck manufacturer has raised safety concerns with usage of the new internationally recognized refrigerant replacement for R134a. Daimler says it has carried out a series of additional tests on the new refrigerant as part of a new real-life test scenario developed in-house which goes above and beyond the legally prescribed requirements. In the new real-life test scenario, the refrigerant is dynamically dispersed at high pressure near to hot components of the test vehicle's exhaust system," says the report. "This corresponds to a serious head-on collision in which the refrigerant line is severed and the reproducible results demonstrate that refrigerant which is otherwise difficult to ignite under laboratory conditions can indeed prove to be flammable in a hot engine compartment."
On September 26th DuPont made a statement in response to Daimler's press release, in which it states that, HFO-1234yf can be safely used as an automotive refrigerant and that risk assessments have shown that there is no significant flammability risk for HFO-1234yf versus R-134a. Spokesman Janet E. Smith adds that DuPont is surprised that the test by Daimler did not involve any industry members or undergo peer review. She adds that the statements in Daimler's release are not consistent with the findings of extensive industry evaluations and hopes to have the opportunity to review Daimler data.
On October 3rd, Honeywell issued a similar press release in which it stresses to stand behind the safety of HFO-1234yf, referring to testing programmes sponsored by 15 global automakers incl all leading German automakers, which concluded that 1234yf is safe for use in automobile applications. Also: ""We are not aware of any in-house testing conducted by Mercedes-Benz that examined areas that have not already been adequately addressed in the past, and we continue to believe this overwhelming body of data shows HFO-1234yf is safe".
On October 10th, Mercedes has started recalling SL Class vehicles (R231) with HFO-1234yf system in order to rebuild them to R-134a.
On October 11th, Honeywell and Mercedes-Benz met, focusing on the automaker's recent in-house testing of HFO-1234yf on its vehicles which took place without the participation of any reputable third party. In an official statement Honeywell says to have seen no evidence that the findings from this testing have added any substantial new information to the comprehensive risk assessment already done under the CRP research programme. In the same statement Honeywell relates to the existence of substances under the hood of today's automobiles, that are more flammable than HFO-1234yf ( e.g. gasoline, coolant, transmission fluids), that can be used through design that minimizes the risks, and has asked Daimler to review their designs to determine the necessary modifications required to further minimize any flammability risks. Honeywell also offered its engineering experience to assist Daimler's engineers to develop a solution.
On November 23rd the EC has written to MACS Wordwide that after 31 December 2012 the EU Member States cannot allow registration of cars ( those type approved for the new gas), still using the old gas R134a* ( the complete document can be found on our special HFO-1234yf section which is part of the login area).
On November 29th, VDA speaker Eichhorn states that an additional 6 months period is required to estimate the risks and take any required countermeasures, such as the implementation of adaptations to systems or refrigerant. According to Eichhorn this corresponds with the standpoint held by ACEA, which pursues a moratorium until 1.6.2013.
On December 20th, German ASP Online says that during a session of the Technical Committee Motor Vehicle (TCMV) of the EU Commission on wednesday, it has been decided that a request to use R-134a until June 30th 2013, has been denied. ASP adds that this means that from January 1 2013 in new vehicle types that have been type-approved after 1.1.2011, a refrigerant with a GWP < 150 has to be used ( HFO-1234yf).
On January 5th, Carlo Corazzo from DG Enterprise confirms to Auto A/C Reporter that all new models that will be put in circulation from January 1st must be equipped with the new gas.
On February 7th Daimler, Audi and BMW leave the SAE R-1234yf CRP Team, stating that the performed tests are not sufficient to fully judge the safety of the vehicles.
February 14th: according to the German ASP agency, the German KBA safety authority will put official pressure on Mercedes to make sure, that all vehicles that have been homologated for R-1234yf, and were sold after 1.1.2013, do contain the legally accepted refrigerant. It is know known yet, how much time Daimler gets to comply, and what the consequences are, if they should not. The EC wants to know from the KBA in how far vehicles -which should have been charged with R-1234yf- but were in fact with R-134a, have been sold in Germany since January 1st. The EC's DG Enterprise wants to know from the German government what it intends to do, to get vehicles that do not comply, back in the correct legal state (R-1234yf/AAR).
February 26th: the login section of this website contains the EC's R-1234yf Q&A Document from February 22nd.
March 5th: BMW Boss Reithofer announces in Geneva that the electrical BMW i3 ( 2013 Q3) will be equipped with an R-1234yf system
March 6th: Daimler tells Autopraxis that it has decided for CO2 as safe and environment-friendly refrigrant. In a first reaction Honeywell describes this as another desperate attempt to delay their compliance with the Directive.
March 28th: On March 20th EU Vice President Tajani, declares that there are no legal grounds to approve an exemption for the enforcement of the Directive, that the present situation of non-compliance by some manufacturers leads to unfair competition, and that the Commsission expects that any light vehicle that has received a new type approval after 1.1.2011 has to comply with the Directive. The Commission also expects each Member State to enforce the Directive and is prepared to take infringement action against Members State that fails to enforce the Directive.
April 3rd: During a live test performed by Opel and TüV Rheinland (corresponding with an accident on the highway where a fully loaded vehicle, previously moving at top speed hits a stationary vehicle at top speed), where the a/c system with R-1234yf was damaged and refrigerant escaped near the hot exhaust manifold, the refrigerant did not ignite. Opel states in a press release from April 3rd that this proves the safety of R-1234yf.
April 19th: Mid April EU Commission's Antonio Tatjani repeats to Süddeutsche Zeitung that no exceptions are made to use R-134a in vehicles that should be charged with R-1234yf. An example is the new A-class. "As soon as I receive a report that a vehicle with the old refrigerant has been admitted in one of the EU member states, I see myself forced to institute infringement proceedings because of violations of the Directive".
Please read the May issue of Auto AC Reporter for a full detailed chronological report of the events and opinions of the stakeholders, incl. details of AC-6 refrigerant.
HFO-1234yf and EU
On April 18th 2012 the EU has allowed carmakers to fill new types of vehicles -that according to Directive 2006/40/EC can only be filled with a refrigerant with a GWP<50- with R-134a (GWP 1400)until 31-12-2012. The decision is due to a shortage of HFO-1234yf which is expected to be resolved in the 4th quarter of this year. Mid January Subaru introduced the new XV with HFO-1234yf system. And, Hyundai brought in the i30. Due to problems in HFO-1234yf supplies, the EU already allowed Mercedes to temporarily bring the first new B-Class vehicles with R-134a until HFO-1234yf mass deliveries have started. More about expected HFO-1234yf cars and service to the systems in the coming magazine issues and the 2012 EAAC.
EAAC 2012 & Upcoming magazine issue
The upcoming issues will contain valuable information on the 2012 EAAC and how to prepare yourself for the new refrigerant and new thermal management systems.
Technical Website Archive
The Technical Website Archive does not only contain articles which have been published in Automotive A/C Reporter. Additionally it also contains the most updated refrigerant and oil tables, auto aircon training modules, replacement times for condenser, evaporator, compressor, expansion valve ect. and hundreds of technical tips for specific vehicles types. Contact us for more info! This hands-on website is a must for every mobile a/c service specialist.It is updated and added to every two weeks and contains many more vehicle-related tech tips than those which have been published in the magazine. Subscribers to this site can also enjoy the benefits of the mass-mail service which supports in sorting out specific problems with the help of the other subscribers all over Europe!
This year - from mid May- also information on how to service the a/c system in hybrid vehicle typeswill be added, Also go to "Auto Aircon Service Web Archive" for more info.