Mercedes says it is will be the first carmaker to equip production models with CO2 air conditioning systems. CO2 systems are said to perform better than conventional systems and to be more environmentally friendly. The move is in response to an EU directive that comes into effect in 2017.
Mercedes has tested the new technology on all of its vehicle models and, based on the results, designed its system in such a way as to separate the refrigerant/air mixture from the hot engine components in the event of a collision. This is to minimize the risk of fire.
CO2 systems operate at a pressure ten times higher than today's typical R134a refrigerant systems, at more than 100 bar. As such, the new systems require designs and components that can handle the increased pressure safely.
The upcoming legislation is based on the EU's climate protection requirements and Mercedes has been involved in drafting the standards for the use of the new technology. It says the standards will help other carmakers to begin development of their own systems quickly.
The German automaker claims to be the first to both award development contracts and place production orders for CO2 air-con systems and their components. the European S- and E-Class models will be the first Mercedes cars equipped with the new technology.