Chasing R-1234yf refrigerant

May 4, 2017
A recent survey indicates 48 percent of vehicles are now using the new refrigerant, including Subaru, Kia, Chevy and Buick.

MACS has been tracking refrigerant use by vehicle manufacturers for quite some time and, as expected, the 2017 model year has extended HFO’s reach into several more models than ever before. January 27 was Media Day at the Philadelphia Auto Show, and MACS was there to check out 42 brands, open 100+ hoods, and see what the OEMs are doing with their A/C systems. We were not surprised to see more vehicles using the new refrigerant, but we really didn’t expect to see as many as we did. I myself thought there would be some increased expansion within a few carlines, but we found it in close to half the vehicles we saw on the exposition floor. In fact, we calculated recent surveys at about 48 percent.

Cadillac appears to have changed over every vehicle in their lineup, although only six of their 11 products were at the show. Ford added the F-150, Focus, Fusion and Fusion Energi, while Lincoln only had the MKZ.

Several newcomers brought yf to the show, including Subaru, Kia, Chevy and Buick. Subaru has only changed over their flagship Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, while Kia is using it in the Optima and Sportage. We also checked out FCA and, no surprise, considering they changed over most products during the 2015 model year, almost every vehicle uses yf. But there are still a few holdovers, such as Caravan and Patriot, which are expected to be phased out of production soon.

Many car makers have still not made the switch, and a thorough search found all of their cars still using R-134a. They include Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Smart, & Volvo. All others were a mix, except for Jaguar and Land Rover, the only two to have fully converted all US models.

News out of MACS 2017 in Anaheim from our friends in Europe is that every OEM selling automobiles has changed over production lines to charge yf into vehicles. That’s due to the A/C milestone we reached back on January 1 when EU regulations required use of a refrigerant with a GWP of less than 150, and since yf has undergone the most development up to this point, it’s become the replacement of choice.

We also saw what we think will be the first Volkswagen to use R-1234yf in the US, and that’s the 2018 VW Atlas R-Line. A prototype was on display in Philadelphia, and while there was no J639 label to be found (there was actually no labeling on this particular vehicle, not even in the door jambs), the shape of the service ports is a dead giveaway.

Steve Schaeber is the Technical Editor for MACS

These manufacturers are using yf now

Here’s the most current list of 68 models whose manufacturers are using R-1234yf refrigerant in production vehicles right now. EU-spec vehicles were removed; this list reports only those sold in the US, reflecting current production trends.

●        Alfa Giulia, Romeo 4C

●        Buick LaCrosse

●        Cadillac ATS-V, CTS-V, CT6, Escalade, XT5, XTS

●        Chevrolet Bolt EV, Camaro RS, Colorado LT Diesel, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Spark, Spark EV, Suburban, Tahoe

●        Chrysler 200, 300, Pacifica

●        Dodge Challenger, Charger, Dart, Durango, Journey

●        Fiat 500, 500L, 500X

●        Ford Escape, F-150, Focus, Fusion, Fusion Energi

●        GMC Acadia, Canyon SLT, Sierra 1500, Yukon XL & Denali

●        Honda Civic, CR-V, Fit EV, Pilot, Ridgeline

●        Hyundai Santa Fe

●        Jaguar F-Pace, F-Type, XE, XF, XJ, XJL

●        Jeep Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade, Wrangler

●        Kia Cadenza, Optima, Sportage

●        Land Rover Discovery, LR4, Range Rover

●        Lincoln MKZ

●        Ram 1500

●        Subaru Legacy, Outback

●        Toyota Tacoma

●        2018 VW Atlas (Available Spring 2017)

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