Honeywell International Inc. has dismissed Daimler AG's safety concerns over the R1234yf air-conditioning coolant it and DuPont produce, according to a report by Handelsblatt newspaper, citing Honeywell European government affairs manager Tim Vink. Daimler has been refusing to use the coolant in its vehicles, saying that R1234yf can emit toxic hydrogen fluoride gas when it burns.
Vink told the German newspaper that the tests that Daimler conducted “were static and don't reflect the course of a real accident." The German carmaker is continuing to use an older refrigerant called R134a, which has been banned throughout the European Union from the start of 2013 as it is a potent global warming agent.
Daimler’s adamant stance in refusing the R1234yf has led France to stop registrations of Mercedes A-class, B-class and SL cars produced after June 2013. EU member nations also agreed on July 17, 2013, to take steps to bring all vehicles within the rules.
According to Honeywell, there is no significant risk from the R1234yf, noting that that it is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative. Vink told Handelsblatt that they are asking themselves why Daimler doesn't try to constructively resolve the problem, instead of refusing to use R1234yf.
According to Honeywell, slight modifications to the air-conditioning system could be implemented to allow the gas to escape quickly in case of an emergency, thereby resolving Daimler's concerns. Vink said the modifications would cause minimal costs per year, noting that other carmakers “who have already taken that step” told them. [source: Reuters]