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.