Mercedes Benz, the world renowned German car manufacturer, has found itself in the position where they are continuing to question the safety of an air con refrigerant. The car manufacturer has repeatedly voiced concerns over R1234YF and it seems as though there are other bodies and car manufacturers who are in agreement with these. The latest support for the stance being taken by the firm can be found from firefighters in Germany. The German firefighters have called for cars which utilise R1234YF to have warning signs placed on them. These warning signs will be for the attention of rescue professionals who may be at risk when attempting a rescue from a vehicle which uses R1234YF.
Although evidence has been presented to Mercedes Benz which suggests that R1234YF is entirely safe, the company continues to refute all evidence that the automotive refrigerant is safe. This evidence was presented to a working group collective, who were convened by the European Commission by special order. The European Commission took this action in an attempt to bring the dispute, which has been running for a considerable time, to an end.
Mercedes Benz have support from other car manufacturers
Mercedes Benz is being backed by a number of other car manufacturers in Germany and support has also come from the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. Toyota have also voiced their discomfort over the use of R1234YF, believing it not to be of a high enough standard of safety. This stands in opposition to research results provided by SAE International, who stated that R1234YF has a lower risk of flammability than the alternative R134a.
As well as a number of car manufacturers stating their opposition to this refrigerant, the German firefighters and DUH, an environmental group in Germany, have also made their concerns public. These groups have both called for cars containing R1234YF to have stickers placed on their windscreens warning rescue staff of its presence. This is because these groups believe that the lower temperature for ignition and the possibility of hydrofluoric acid being released provides a genuine danger to any rescue workers.
Both of the groups have asked for a speedy and efficient transition to a more natural and non-flammable refrigerant CO2. One reason why the European Commission is extremely keen to bring an end to the dispute comes with the fact that the stance being held by Mercedes Benz contravenes the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive of the EC.