Mobile air-conditioning systems (MACs)
The European Directive on mobile air-conditioning systems (MACs) aims at reducing emissions of specific fluorinated greenhouse gases in the air-conditioning systems fitted to passenger cars (vehicles of category M1) and light commercial vehicles (category N1, class 1)
The main objectives of the Directive are:
- the control of leakage of fluorinated greenhouse gases with a global warming potential (GWP) higher than 150 in MACs;
- the prohibition from a certain date of MACs using those gases
The Directive is enforced in two phases:
- The first phase: as from 21 June 2008 the manufacturers have been unable to obtain a type approval for a new type of vehicle if it is fitted with MACs designed to contain F-gases with a GWP higher than 150 leaking more than 40 grams per year (one evaporator systems) and 60 grams per year (dual evaporator systems). As from 21 June 2009 this also applies for all new vehicles having been type-approved in the past.
- The second phase is the complete ban of MACs designed to use the above mentioned gases. This ban is effective as from 1 January 2011 for new types of vehicles (the manufacturers are unable to obtain a type approval for a new type of vehicle if it is fitted with this kind of systems) and as from 1 January 2017 for all new vehicles. From that date on, new vehicles with these systems cannot be registered, sold and enter into service.
In practical terms, the use of the gas that is currently used for filling MAC systems (HFC-134a) is not permitted for newly type-approved vehicles since January 2011. The Commission is informed that automotive manufacturers have decided, in 2009, on the use of refrigerant HFO-1234yf as the technical solution to comply with the Directive's targets. In April 2012, and in light of the exceptional circumstances and exclusively with respect to supply problems of HFO-1234yf, the European Commission accepted to refrain from launching infringement procedures in cases where vehicle production would continue to be done with the gas HFC-134a until 31 December 2012. This solution was inextricably linked to the exceptional circumstances of lack of supply of the refrigerant. Since that problem has been solved, as expected, in the last quarter of 2012, there will be no extension of this solution. Vehicles that have been type-approved for the use of gas HFO 1234yf cannot be registered if they use gas HFC-134a, given that, according to Framework Directive 2007/46/EC, it is not possible for motor vehicles to be registered and marketed in the EU if they are not in conformity with the relevant legislation.