Mercedes-Benz has announced it will finally fall in line with European Union regulations by using carbon dioxide as the refrigerant in its air-conditioning systems in future.
The announcement follows a tense stand-off between Mercedes and the EU over a directive that banned the widely used synthetic Tetrafluoroethane (R123a) refrigerant in all newly type-approved cars launched in Europe from the start of 2013.
Tetrafluoroethane (R123a) has been widely used by car makers, including Mercedes, as an air conditioning refrigerant for more than 25 years. However, increasingly tighter environmental laws and moves by the EU to adopt a refrigerant with a low global-warming potential (GWP) led to proposals for it to be banned.
A proposal by the EU to replace R123a, which possess a GWP score of 1300, with the newer and more environmentally friendly synthetic Tetrafluorpropen (R-1234yf) was heavily criticised by Mercedes following internal testing that raised concerns about flammability issues during heavy frontal impacts. BMW and VW later joined Mercedes in expressing concerns over its use.