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Germany faces fine in R134a dispute

LUXEMBOURG: The advocate general of the European Court of Justice has declared that Germany violated European law by allowing Daimler to continue using R134a in car air conditioning systems.

In a finding by ECJ advocate general Paolo Mengozzi in Luxembourg today, it was declared that Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, the KBA, should have ensured that Daimler complied with the European MAC directive that banned the use of R134a.

The advocate general’s opinion is not binding, but in the majority of cases the judges of the European Court of Justice are following it. A verdict is expected within the next few months.

The MAC Directive stipulates that air conditioning systems in motor vehicles type-approved after 1 January 2011 could not be filled with F-gases with a GWP higher than 150. This effectively banned the use of R134a, leaving the “mildly flammable” HFO R1234yf as the only production-ready refrigerant.

After conducting its own flammability tests, German car manufacturer Daimler had refused to use the new refrigerant on safety grounds.

At the end of 2015, the European Commission announced it was referring Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to apply the MAC Directive. It alleged that Germany had infringed EU law by allowing Daimler to place vehicles on the EU market that were not in conformity with the MAC Directive, and failing to take remedial action.

Related stories:

Germany to face court over MAC directive – 10 December 2015
EUROPE: The European Commission is to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to apply the MAC Directive. Read more…

EC orders Germany to stop using R134a – September 25, 2014
BRUSSELS: The EC has told Germany it must enforce the MAC Directive and stop German manufacturers using R134a in new car air conditioning systems. Read more…

Daimler u-turn on 1234yf – October 20, 2015
GERMANY: While still committed to the use of CO2, Daimler has announced that it will now be using the refrigerant R1234yf in the interim to comply with EU regulations. Read more…

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