posted 5 years ago

Mercedes Warns Coolant Could Cause Fires

Mercedes-Benz Raises Safety Concerns

Mercedes-Benz has warned the motor industry that new air-conditioning coolant could cause fires, the Daily Mail has reported. However Honeywell - the manufacturer of the new refrigerant - has strongly rebuked this conclusion. European rules require motor manufacturers to phase-in the new coolant between 2013 and 2017 as it is more environmentally friendly than the older/current alternatives. The HFO-1234yf coolant will therefore be used in millions of vehicles over the next few years. Air-conditioning is standard on the vast majority of new cars, after all. As such, Mercedes-Benz performed a series of tests relating to air-conditioning coolant leaks. These can occur during an accident or as a result of a fault. According to the Daily Mail Walter Pütz – Mercedes-Benz Cars Director of Vehicle Certification and Regulatory Affairs – concluded:

“The whole vehicle can catch fire and the burning refrigerant generates acutely poisonous hydrogen fluoride which poses a severe danger to both passengers and rescue workers.” A Mercedes source added: “It doesn't explode like in the movies. But there is a boom and a ball of fire”. The Daily Mail has also said that Daimler – Mercedes-Benz' parent company – said that: “Due to the new findings of this study and the high safety demands at Mercedes-Benz, this chemical will not be used in its products.” However, the company may have no choice if it wants to comply with the law.

New Coolant Manufacturer Insists Its Product Is Safe

Honeywell – which has 132,000 employees worldwide and expertise over a range of industries - has stressed that its new coolant is safe. The company has therefore emphasised the findings of the SAE International Cooperative Research Project that included experts from eleven global motor manufacturers. Their conclusion was that “the high level of confidence” that SAE has in the safety of the refrigerant “continues to grow.” SAE International also stressed that the refrigerant “posed no greater risk than any other engine compartment fluids.” The Cooperative Research Project also concluded that the testing conducted by Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) was “unrealistic” and used “extremely idealised conditions” while ignoring actual collision scenarios. Terrence Hahn - Vice President and General Manager for Honeywell Fluorine Products - therefore said: “The SAE’s latest evaluation combined with years of other extensive testing leaves no doubt that HFO-1234yf is safe for automotive applications”.

I suspect this story will run and run.

Well Il can assure you the cars can and DO catch fire no I take that back not fire Explode !! me My 2005 clk320 did just that in my front yard and mercedes iso ignoring me ... Nextstop the MEDIA before sommes one iso hurt or killed ....

Worse still is the possible use of ordinary gas (imflammable: e600) when recharging?

I work in the domestic gas industry when we carry out gas safety tests they have to be worst case scenario to pass a gas appliance. The test carried out by Daimler was worst case scenario and it failed. Daimler are right and the rule[s] are wrong

To "rebuke" a conclusion. This is an obvious Googled translation from the German.

How do you "rebuke" a comclusion? Wouldn't you refute it or rebuff it?

When or should I say IF safety and environmental protocols are adhered to by all Nations and industrial conglomerates the ozone layer might be protected and people may not be exposed to hazards more testing needed perhaps under more varied conditions under "what if" scenarios, - unfortunately events like the thalidomide scandal springs to mind?

I think you meant 'refuted' not 'rebuked'.

Which gas do they use when you have your Air-con topped up during a service

If it came to taking sides, I would far rather trust a company with a customer interest like Mercedes than a faceless entity from Brussels and a faceless company like Honeywell. The road to perdition is littered with products whose jealous parents claimed were safe. Lets begin with Thalydomide....

So maybe the "SAFER" gas is not safer after all! Maybe it is!! However the refrigerant gases used years ago were reputed to make holes in the ozone layer, but only when they leaked! If this new gas does present a fire risk what effect does a ton and a half of burning car have on the environment? Burning plastics give of some quite nasty combustion products. Consistantly in a effort to "improve" we take one step forward and two back.