Car makers will have to fit more environmentally friendly air conditioning systems to all new cars by 2011, the EU has said.
The motor industry had been lobbying for the new rules, which stem from the Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) directive from 2006, to be held off until 2017 as car makers struggle with the global downturn, and while they concentrate on more eco-friendly drivetrains.
But the European commission has ruled that the coolant used in current systems has too high a global warming potential, one that’s up to 1300 times greater than the effect of CO2.
The MAC directive says: “Emissions of hydrofluorocarbon-134a (HFC-134a), which has a global warming potential of 1 300, from air conditioning systems in motor vehicles are of growing concern because of their impact on climate change. Cost-effective and safe alternatives to hydrofluorocarbon 134a (HFC-134a) are expected to be available in the near future.”
The pressure is now on manufacturers to come up with an alternative refrigeration system, as even aftermarket systems will have to conform to the new rules by 2011.