HFO-1234yf is being adopted by automakers in part to meet the European Union's Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive, which aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of air-conditioning systems in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. As reconfirmed last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), HFO-1234yf has a global warming potential of less than 1, which is even lower than that of carbon dioxide. This GWP is 99.9 percent lower than that of HFC-134a with a GWP of 1,300, which makes it an especially potent greenhouse gas. The JRC began its extensive evaluation of the extensive testing already conducted on HFO-1234yf in October 2013 at the request of The Directorate General for Enterprise to conclusively determine the safety of the refrigerant.
Daimler in late 2012 had raised questions about the refrigerant's safety due to its mild flammability. Last year, SAE International, the world's leading automotive engineering organization, which comprises engineers from the world's leading automotive manufacturers, concluded that the refrigerant was safe after completing an expanded and extensive evaluation. Those conclusions were backed by 10 global automakers who took part in the SAE Cooperative Research Project, including Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota. The SAE report called Daimler's testing of the product to be "unrealistic."
SAE representatives as well as experts from several global car manufacturers also presented at JRC meetings, and the JRC reviewed testing and evaluations from multiple SAE Cooperative Research Programs as well as more recent testing by the KBA. The KBA's testing demonstrated that using HFO-1234yf creates no serious risks, and as a result it did not pursue action under Germany's Product Safety Act.
SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, is an independent, global association of more than 133,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries.