UBA: “Give EU carmakers until end of 2015 to switch to CO2

By Alexandra Maratou, Feb 18, 2013, 14:27 2 minute reading

In an interview with Reuters last week, the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) called for a further 3-year deadline extension for carmakers to comply with the EU Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive, provided however that they commit to introducing CO2 as the alternative to R134a.

"It's just not possible to switch to a CO2-based system within six months or even a year, though, so I would propose giving carmakers until the end of 2015 to make the switch," UBA President Jochen Flasbarth told Reuters.

The 3-year extension seems to be in line with industry estimations regarding the minimum time needed to industrialise components for CO2 MACs and set up mass production.

European Commission rejects German 6-month delay request

In the meantime, in a letter to the German government last week, the European Commission declined a request by German authorities for a further 6-month grace period to comply with the MAC Directive. If granted, such a deadline extension would not come with any commitment from the carmakers side.

Already last year, the European Commission granted such a grace period until the end of 2012, hoping to resolve availability concerns of the new chemical refrigerant at the time.

BMW, Daimler and Audi drop out of SAE group testing HFC1234yf - “test methods not sufficient”

In early February 2013, BMW became the third carmaker to drop out of the ongoing SAE international cooperative research project investigating the safety of HFC1234yf, following Daimler and Audi.

According to Reuters a BMW spokesman said: "We do not want to say the test results are wrong, but we are not convinced the methods applied are sufficient to achieve a definitive conclusion that guarantees our high safety standards".

The remaining members of the group - Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota - will continue assessing HFC1234yf, using methods such as recent OEM testing from actual vehicle crash data, on-vehicle simulations, laboratory simulations, bench tests, and over 100 engine compartment refrigerant releases.

Since Daimler announced in 2012 that they would not use HFC1234yf for safety reasons, the question of which refrigerant to use to comply with EU legislation has moved up the agenda. However, the German Environment Agency has been voicing its concerns since much earlier: "We have been warning about the dangers (of HFC1234yf) for years. Daimler's internal tests proved not only that our own fears were justified but also that we may even have underestimated the risks," Flasbarth said. 

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By Alexandra Maratou

Feb 18, 2013, 14:27




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