To date, the only U.S. made vehicle that uses the new refrigerant is the 2012 Cadillac XTS, Wagaman said. He noted that in 2013, the Chevy Spark and the Chrysler Jeep Cherokee will use it as well.
The new refrigerant is more expensive than the traditional 134a refrigerant, he noted. “The biggest challenges with the refrigerant for the aftermarket will be the cost if it stays at or close to current levels,” he said. He noted the new refrigerant was in the neighborhood of $900 per cylinder based on pricing he has seen, which is about $82 per pound for an 11-lb cylinder, compared to $140 to $160 per cylinder and $5 per pound for R134a.
In the near term, the aftermarket will need to work with both refrigerants as the new one phases in and the old one phases out. “That (new) population is going to start growing but will be slow,” Wagaman said. “It’s a gradual phase in for this refrigerant.”
He noted that Bosch has the Robinair AC1234-6, which includes an internal refrigerant identifier, and a fully automatic leak detector, the Robinaire 22791. The leak detector can be used with both types of refrigerants.