We’re “almost” ready for R-1234yf, the new low global warming auto A/C refrigerant that is being used in place of R-134a to meet European regulations and gain
EPA fuel economy credits. “Almost” applies despite the fact that R-1234yf already has been installed in a small number of cars in U.S. Europe since last winter and is coming to Cadillacdealers in a matter of a few months.
The major problem is R-1234yf supply. A large plant in
, a joint venture between DuPont and Honeywell, reportedly is ready to go, but Chinese government requirements for additional documentation apparently have delayed the needed approval for production to start. So the only supply of R-1234yf is from a pilot plant operated by Honeywell, as the company holds patents covering applications for the refrigerant. Although overturning these patents is the object of lawsuits and complaints with regulatory agencies by potential competitors in Europe and the China , at this time the refrigerant is single-source. U.S.
Honeywell has focused on delivering most of the available R-1234yf to
Europe, where a European Community regulation mandates a low global warming refrigerant for all new platform vehicles since Jan. 1, 2011. Car companies have juggled production and introduction schedules to conform to the regulation and deal with the supply problem. However, Honeywell has a supply contract with General Motors and, despite the shortage, will provide enough refrigerant for the new Cadillac XTS, the larger-than-CTS luxury sedan coming in late spring, and then also for the ATS, the smaller-than-CTS sports sedan to be introduced in mid-summer. GM will earn fuel economy-related carbon dioxide emissions credits for the change.