BMW has stepped down from an industry research program investigating the safety of a potential new air-conditioning refrigerant. The company disagrees with the test methods, according to Reuters News Agency.
Flammability tests by Daimler last year sparked new concerns after years of research into the safety of the proposed new refrigerant, dubbed HFO-1234yf, which European regulators want to be adopted by carmakers to cut atmospheric emissions. Daimler's initial doubts triggered the formation of the latest working group last year, the Cooperative Research Program (CRP) being conducted under the auspices of the international Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), to further analyze the safety of HFO-1234yf.
Daimler confirmed that it has left the working group, while Audi could not be reached for comment.
The production of the refrigerant, which releases a toxic gas when it burns, is being developed by Honeywell and its partner, DuPont, and could lead to a billion-dollar monopoly starting in 2017, when a phase-out of current refrigerants is complete.
In December, the research working group released a statement saying that none of the twelveother carmakers involved, apart from Daimler, "has provided information that would suggest a concern for the safe use (of HFO-1234yf) in their vehicles."
Daimler decided late in September to recall all 1,300 Mercedes cars using HFO-1234yf after simulated frontal car crashes repeatedly showed that a leakage of the refrigerant-lubricant mix in the a/c system could spontaneously ignite when the surface of the turbocharged gasoline engine reached higher operating temperatures.
The latest working group was formed in November, comprising Daimler and twelve other carmakers, including General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Toyota, BMW, and Audi.––Paul DucheneBack to News