GERMANY: The German government is lining up against its car manufacturers who are considering defying the MAC directive by refusing to move away from the refrigerant R134a.
Dr Lutz Knopek of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and member of the German parliament's environment committee, has backed calls from Germany's Federal Motor Vehicle Office to respect the European law.
Following its own crash tests with the proposed replacement R1234yf, Daimler had indicated that it would continue with R134a on safety grounds. Some other German car manufacturers were also reported to be concerned about the flammability of 1234yf but Knopek pointed out that the law was clear that all vehicle manufacturers were under obligation to use only low GWP refrigerants.
'A further use of the current agent, and transitional, is not an option,' he said. 'The fine imposed by the EU Commission moratorium because of supply difficulties for refrigerants expires at year end.'
He pointed out that after 01 January 2013 the type approval to continue using 134a was revoked. 'This also applies to the models of Daimler,' he added.
He also offered no sympathy to the German manufacturers. 'The German automotive industry has had six years to provide a compliant solution. It decided after much back and forth to meet the statutory requirements through the use of refrigerant HFO-1234yf. Again and again, from different angles criticism on the risk profile of this substance have been expressed. The automotive industry has rejected the doubts always based on non-published studies to date. They made this decision on its own responsibility and must now bear the consequences.'
He accepted that rejecting 1234yf on the grounds of safety, even at this late stage, might be considered a responsible action but said it did not relieve the manufacturer of non-law-abiding behaviour. In those circumstances he suggested that manufacturers should refrain from equipping their new models with air conditioning.
'Wrong business decisions cannot justify breaking the law,' he said.