France blocked Mercedes-Benz registrations due to R134a coolant use

Article by Anita Panait, on July 10, 2013

France has blocked the registration of a few new vehicle models from Mercedes-Benz due to a contentious air-conditioning refrigerant R134a, a source from the European Union told Automotive News Europe. He said that France blocked registrations of Mercedes A class, B class and CLA cars since they contained R134a, a coolant that is not permitted in the EU.

A Daimler spokesman remarked to Automotive News Europe that Germany has registered the vehicles even if they have the coolant. He remarked that they "don't have a clear picture yet" about the matter in France as well as the reasons behind it. He added that Daimler was holding talks with "all the relevant institutions to rapidly resolve the matter.

Typically, approval in France and other EU countries follows on automatically from the German approval. Although Daimler breached an EU directive for continuing exclusively to use the R134a, Germany has agreed to extend a permit granted to predecessor models to the new models.

Daimler disclosed in September 2012 that HFO-1234yf, which is only coolant on the market that complies with new EU directive on greenhouse gases, could be a primary cause of vehicle fire. Daimler and Volkswagen are both developing costly carbon dioxide-based air conditioning systems to avoid what they claim is a fire hazard presented by HFO-1234yf.

They say that HFO-1234yf emits poisonous hydrogen fluoride gas when it burns. Opel has started installing HFO-1234yf-based systems in its Mokka subcompact crossover at the start of 2013. The European unit of General Motors said that there is no evidence in a crash test on the Mokka that the HFO-1234yf could catch fire in a collision and release toxic fumes. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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