On this episode of As the A/C Refrigerant Turns, the KBA, Germany’s motor authority, has released its findings on the refrigerant r1234yf. The joint venture of Honeywell and Dupont, r1234yf has pitted Daimler against France and Germany against the EU; Daimler refused to use the new refrigerant, saying it’s more dangerous to occupants in a crash, so France refused to register Mercedes-Benz cars that used to old, non-EU-approved refrigerant. The latest step was France taking steps to formally ban the Mercedes offerings at issue.
The KBA tested a Mercedes B-Class, Hyundai i30, Subaru Impreza and Opel Mokka in crashes of three different intensities. According to Reuters, which received a copy of the report, it found that “while the new substance was more hazardous than the old, it did not comprise a serious danger.” The “more hazardous” findings came when, in the worst crash scenario, “non-negligible” amounts of hydrogen flouride were released three times. However, the KBA said that “it was not entirely clear what conditions were necessary for the Honeywell product to become a serious hazard.” The report comes not long after the SAE released its findings on the refrigerant in which it declared the new chemical safer than the old.
Dupont issued a statement saying the KBA’s results are the same as other automakers have found, and a Honeywell spokesperson said that “HFO-1234yf creates no serious risks” and it won’t initiate court proceedings over the row in Germany. Daimler, on the other hand, has said the findings vindicate its decision not to use r1234yf. It is Daimler that has more work to do, though, since the KBA report doesn’t give it any additional leverage to lift the registration ban on the three affected models in France.