If you’ve followed Motor Age for any length of time, you are well aware that new refrigerants are being used in current production line cars. R1234yf is the current replacement of choice in use overseas to meet the European Union’s ban on R134a and it also is being used in domestic model vehicles sold in the United States to earn CAFE credits in an attempt to soften the impact the new fuel economy requirements are having on the OEMs. Additionally, the EPA has announced its intent to phase down the use of R134a in new model cars and has approved additional refrigerants for use in mobile A/C systems, adding them to the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) list.
Why are we dropping R134a? What does this really mean for the shop owner and independent technician? What impact will it have on both the mechanical repair and collision repair aftermarket industries?
Automechanika Chicago attendees were able to get answers to these questions and a whole lot more from experts in the area of mobile air conditioning and the new refrigerants. Peter Coll, vice president and managing director of Neutronics Refrigerant analysis, and his co-presenter, Mary Koban, Opteon®YF Global Technical Lead representative, were present to address these issues and help attendees prepare for the future of mobile air conditioning service and repair.
In addition to the qualifications their day jobs brought to Automechanika, one should also note that both are members of the SAE Interior Climate Control Service committee, with Coll acting as vice-chair. The two were and are actively involved in the global process of incorporating replacements for existing gasses and know first-hand the challenges that were presented and overcome, as well as those that still face us as an industry.
Those attendees with some knowledge of the path that led to today’s discussion were already aware that potentially there are additional players in the refrigerant arena, with Daimler leading the call for an alternative to the alternative. Coll and Koban both presented information that addressed attendee questions and concerns on this topic and others, helping shop owners and technicians alike better understand what the future landscape of A/C service and repair was going to look like.