Currently reading: EU row over Merc air-con coolant intensifies
Leading automotive research organisation dismisses Daimler's concerns over fire risk of new air-con fluid
Matt Burt
News
2 mins read
31 July 2013

A leading automotive research organisation has dismissed Daimler’s claim that a new type of air-con refrigerant carries a higher fire risk than the old substance, which the German automotive giant is continuing to use in its cars, despite an EU ban.

SAE International, a global body of scientists, engineers, and practitioners that sets automotive technical standards and includes representatives from several car companies, claims that Daimler’s own research into the new refrigerant is flawed.

Many major car manufacturers complied with a European Union directive to switch to a new, more environmentally friendly form of refrigerant – known as R-1234yf – from 1 January 2013.

But Daimler, after conducting its own testing, highlighted concerns that the new refrigerant poses a greater risk of vehicle fire than the old type of fluid in the event of the air-con pipes becoming damaged.

It continues to use other types of refrigerant in some models, which resulted in a ban on registration of new Mercedes-Benz A-class, B-class and SL-class models in France last month.

To address Daimler’s concerns, which it raised last year, SAE embarked on a new cooperative research project to analyse the fire risk of the new refrigerant. 

Now SAE has published details of its updated research, which refutes Daimler’s claim that the new refrigerant is more dangerous. SAE’s report also says that the test methods used by Daimler were flawed because they were not representative of real-life crash scenarios.

According to SAE, Daimler’s isolated tests involved a number of artificial factors that increased the risk of fire and at the same time ignored a number of factors that would have reduced the probability of fire in a real crash.

SAE’s analysis determined that the risk of a vehicle fire caused by the new refrigerant is three in one trillion. This compares to the risk of vehicle fire from any cause, which SAE puts at one in a million.

SAE reaffirmed its previous conclusion that the new type of refrigerant is safe for automotive use. 

Although no other countries have followed France’s ban on Mercedes models, the European Commission has given Daimler until September to comply with the new air-con directive. However, Daimler remains adamant that its cars are type-approved for sale across Europe, having been passed by German transport authorities.

The SAE’s conclusions were endorsed by many of the manufacturers involved in the research project: Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota

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Three companies – Daimler itself, BMW and Audi – initially participated in the research project but chose to withdraw.

 

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chila 2 August 2013

You accuse me of playing with

You accuse me of playing with words and yet you are the one going semantics on me. Ok. I will say this. MB didn't invent anti-lock braking system. Good enough now?

Tested under the same circumstances Volvo's autonomous emergency braking system is superior to that of MB and VW.

289 2 August 2013

@Chila

YeahYeah, whatever........mastermind!

Ciao

chila 2 August 2013

What you wrote is still

What you wrote is still half-truth and misleading. MB didn't invent ABS. It was introduced way before MB offered their improved device.

It's funny to see words you use ( pioneer this and that ). It's common in Daimler's marketing material Wink

Ok let's not hijack this anymore. Back on topic. The problem is not with the coolant. The problem is with German car makers who spend a lot on marketing and less on actual improvements on safety and environment. Just look at their system for stopping the vehicle if an obstacle/danger is in front (MB,VW). Highly flawed. Then look at that same system from Volvo or Fiat. They hide real problems with their cars -it's their mode of operation. They had six years to prepare for this and they pointed to flaws in this coolant only few months ago. How obvious is that? They tested it on a track pouring this coolant over hot engine. The same thing as Bayer with their neonicotinoids and bees research. They put out their flawed research and we should all take their word for granted (remember how they hide problems with their cars (Australia)? They currently by any standards produce mediocre products and yet people still praise them. It's sick.

289 2 August 2013

@chila

....this is getting boring now, you are just playing with words...wrongly as it happens , 'ABS' couldn't be introduced before the M-B launch as it is technology wholly owned and patented...including the name ABS, by Bosch/M-B. As I said before, what came before was not 'ABS'

Clearly you are either a jerk with a chip on your shoulder about M-B or deliberately trying to antagonise rather than having useful dialogue.

As regards your Volvo avoidance system...yes I remember clearly your much vaunted Volvo avoidance system demo.....the guy drove the Volvo at the back of another vehicle  expecting the system to take over and..... It smashed straight into the back of it!!

Really impressive...haven't laughed so much for ages.

Bad example Chila

Mike in Bath 6 August 2013

289 I wondered when that lame excuse would come up so

lets clarify what happened: Yes it didn't stop because the system is radar based and designed to pick up a metallic bounce back, not a cardboard box with metal coloured tape on it's edges, the journalists and people staging this test were apparently unaware that silver coloured plastic tape was non metallic (none of these morons work for Volvo) and that was before the system was ever fitted to a production model, the ones fitted to production vehicles have worked 100% since being fitted. The system not only works, unlike Mercedes which was an utter fail on the Fifth gear test, it has since been updated, has saved lives, has avoided accidents and is still FREE OF CHARGE! 

289 6 August 2013

uh huh...is that so!

well Mike in Bath, I suggest you look at the video clip...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNi17YLnZpg

didnt look much like cardboard and metallic tape to me!!!!. looked VERY like an articulated trailer to me- LOL

Sorry to spank you with that one whilst you were trying to blind everyone to the dubious benefits of Volvo ownership!

Have another try though

chila 1 August 2013

You people obviously have no

You people obviously have no idea what INVENTION means. Mercedes Benz did not invent anti lock braking system. Period.

Christian Galea 1 August 2013

chila wrote:Look, you can

chila wrote:

Look, you can write whatever you want but MB didn't invent ABS. Misleading marketing material will not change the truth.

chila wrote:

You people obviously have no idea what INVENTION means. Mercedes Benz did not invent anti lock braking system. Period.

Technically, I don't think that either myself or 289 explicitly stated ABS was invented by Merc...if you'll read the posts properly you'll see we used the terms "developed" and "first to fit [the technology]", i.e. 'ABS' itself as an idea was perhaps not first thought of by Merc, but the proper form in which it is known and the way in which it is found and used today was indeed developed by Merc/Bosch and fitted on Merc vehicles first, as elaborated by 289's post above.

I think your idea of an invention may be "the first person/company to think of the idea and/or create the first physical prototype". However, the Oxford dictionary states the following for the verb "invent":

"create or design (something that has not existed before); be the originator of:"

e.g."he invented an improved form of the steam engine"

(http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/invent?q=invent)

Using this example, the "invention" can refer to an improved version of the steam engine as much as it can to the invention of the steam engine itself. Hence, under this definition, Merc/Bosch's ABS system technically does indeed seem to qualify as an invention since it was quite more sophisticated than other systems and hence rather different than the then-existing offerings such that it is the actual type of ABS as known today, so much so that it is the system that is still used by car manufacturers.

I do not wish that we hijack this thread any longer about this matter...the point I was trying to make is that Merc has shown on more than one occasion that it has been a pioneer in the safety department for quite a long time now, and for someone to come thrash their engineering, research, design, technology etc. is simply ridiculous.