Mercedes-Benz logo on hood of car

About ten months ago, we reported on Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz raising warning alarms about a newly approved refrigerant for automotive air conditioning applications, called R1234yf. The new coolant was approved for use in the European Union because it has a reduced negative effect as a greenhouse gas when compared with its precursor, R134a. However, Daimler and VW contended that the new coolant posed a serious risk in crash situations, where it could not only pose a primary fire risk, it might also emit poisonous hydrogen fluoride gas when ignited.

The EU claims that its testing has revealed R1234yf to be safe, and the refrigerant is now the only approved air conditioning coolant in the region.

Nevertheless, some Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class and SL-Class cars, assembled later than June 12, were shipped to France for sale after being certified by German authorities. Rather than register the cars, as is typical, French authorities have apparently refused to approve the R134a-filled vehicles.

A Reuters report indicates that Daimler "has no explanation" for why the vehicle registration was stopped, while citing French authorities as acting because of the banned coolant. The article also points out that Daimler and Volkswagen are both hard at work on "carbon dioxide-based" AC systems, as a complete end-around to the problem.