GM are keen to promote their greenhouse gas-friendly air conditioning unit in a bid to overcome the bad PR that surrounded their bailout by the US and Canadian Governments.
Any car purchased before the 1990’s was installed with a air conditioning unit most likely powered by Freon (R-12). The company were ideal in giving drivers a comfortable environment and even better at releasing greenhouse gases that were harmful to the ozone layer. So in the mid 1990’s GM’s switched to a less harmful R-134a.
The R-134a quickly became more popular but still emits greenhouse gases into the envrionment that don’t break down very quickly. The refirgerant has an atmospheric life of more than 13 years which gives it a global warming potential (GWP) rating over 1,400.
So through a partnership with Honeywell the new GM air conditioning unit will use HFO-1234yf a chemical that breaks down much faster in the air than a R134a. And instead of 13 years the chemical breaks down in 11 days making the GWP 4, which is 99.7 per cent lower than R-134a.
The greener air conditioning system will be used in 2013 editions of the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models in the US. The new air con system will not only hit EPA’s new motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations for 2016, but it will also set the standards for car companies around the globe.