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French court backs down from Mercedes-Benz bans over new refrigerant

by Justin King

Daimler continues to battle EU over controversial A/C refrigerant.

A French court has reportedly overturned an injunction that would have halted sales of several Mercedes-Benz models, marking yet another turn in Daimler's protracted battle over an European Union-mandated air-conditioning refrigerant.

The German automaker has defiantly refused to switch from the existing R134a refrigerant to a new formula, known as R1234yf, pursuant to new EU laws focused on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The company has argued that the new refrigerant, developed by Dupont and Honeywell, is prone to combustion and release of toxic fumes if the A/C system is compromised in a head-on collision.

The EU recently dismissed Daimler's safety concerns, citing internal tests performed by EU scientists. The lab was able ignite the chemical, however the flammability was in an "extreme" scenario that scientists claim is unlikely to be replicated in real-world conditions.

The French government initially pushed to implement a sales ban on non-compliant A-Class, B-Class, CLA and SL models. The country's top administrative court has rejected the ban, however, as the vehicles have not been proven to pose a serious environmental risk, according to a report.

The EU has threatened legal action against Germany for allowing Daimler to continue using R134a, however the European Commission hasn't levied fines or other specific punishments.

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