Published on October 21st, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mercedes-Benz to use carbon dioxide in their air conditioning systems
In order to comply with the legal provisions going into effect in 2017, Mercedes-Benz will equip its vehicles with air conditioning systems that meet all the relevant performance and safety requirements. The Stuttgart-based automobile manufacturer will exceed the EU’s climate protection requirements. From 2017, it will offer in Europe the S- and E-Class as the first production passenger cars equipped with CO2 air conditioning systems. These completely newly developed systems are based on the DIN specifications defined by the automotive standards committee of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Thanks to their especially quickly available and high cooling performance, CO2 air conditioning systems swiftly provide for a pleasant feel-good climate inside vehicles even in very hot weather. In combination with their high environmental compatibility, this makes them the sustainable premium solution among air conditioning systems.
The use of CO2 as a refrigerant necessitates the redesign of crucial components. CO2 air conditioning systems operate at a pressure of more than 100 bar – some ten times higher than that of today’s systems. This means that all components including the hoses and seals need to be redesigned. Mercedes-Benz has drafted corresponding standards together with all German automobile manufacturers and numerous suppliers in the automotive standards committee of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The publicly accessible DIN specification documents also offer other companies an opportunity to quickly launch development activities of their own. This would create the prerequisites for swift market penetration by this high-tech air conditioning system. Mercedes-Benz has assumed a pioneering role in this respect. It is the first automobile manufacturer to award not only development contracts but also to place production orders for CO2 air conditioning systems and their components.
Despite the exceptionally short time frame, the high level of quality targeted by Mercedes-Benz for CO2 air conditioning systems has already been realised in the new development for the company’s top models. Deployment throughout the entire vehicle fleet will not be feasible by the effective date of the new EU directive on 1 January 2017. In order to also meet the EU requirements on schedule for all other model series, the company has developed safe and reliable solutions for the use of a synthetic refrigerant, which is used throughout the entire automotive industry.