EU Court to rule against Germany in mobile AC case

The European Court of Justice’s Advocate General has agreed with the European Commission that Germany violated the mobile air-conditioning systems (MAC) Directive after it allowed Daimler to continue to use R134a in its mobile air-conditioning systems.

The principal entrance to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Copyright: Court of Justice of the European Union

By Charlotte McLaughlin

Yesterday (11 April 2018), the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi released an opinion stating “The Federal Republic of Germany has failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 12 and 30 of [the MAC] Directive 2007/46 / EC” that requires European Union countries to regulate the use of HFCs in vehicles.

Though the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding the ECJ, based in Luxembourg, agrees with it about 67% of the time according to 2016 research by the University of Cambridge.

The mobile air-conditoing systems Directive known as the MAC Directive prohibits the use of f-gases with a global warming potential (GWP) of more than 150 times greater than CO2 in new types of cars and vans introduced from 2011, and in all new cars and vans produced from 2017.

The judgment by Mengozzi states that by allowing Daimler to continue to place cars with R134a mobile air-conditioning systems on the market, after it was alerted by the Commission this was against the directive, Germany has failed to meet the obligations of the MAC Directive.

The Advocate General wrote in his opinion: “The Federal Republic of Germany is ordered to pay two thirds of the costs incurred by the European Commission and two thirds of its own costs. The Commission will bear one third of the costs of the Federal Republic of Germany and one third of its own costs”.

On 10 December 2015, Germany was referred to the ECJ for an apparent circumvention in the application of the MAC Directive. Daimler AG, a German vehicle manufacturer, continued to use the fluorinated gas R134a in newly-built car air-conditioning systems that were type-approved for use with R1234yf after January 2011.

Daimler, who did not want to use R1234yf due to safety concerns, has since committed to CO2 in MAC systems.

Originally published on Apr 12, 2018:

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