global insight - west european light vehicle a/c refrigerant scenario

Overview of Findings-BASE SCENARIO ONLY
Global Insight's base scenario assumes a slow and conservative adoption of C02
eventually for all vehicles, assuming On this basis OEMs will be reluctant to
move away from R134a and most will adjust life cycles to accommodate this
and limit the period where 2 different refrigerant systems are fitted to the same
vehicle platform.
-First CO2 systems appear from 2010
-International exports remain on R134a until 2015
-Low cost solution for small cars is not forthcoming in the near term
-No suitable alternative refrigerants are available.
-No real harmonisation of move to CO2 in other main producing regions
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Even when R12 began to be replaced by R134a in the early-mid 1990s, the
industry knew that this was unlikely to be the final solution.
The European Commission's recently passed regulation on MAC refrigerants
ultimately mandates the phase out of R134a beginning 2011 and concluding by
2017 for all light vehicles.
(2011 European Union environmental standards require the phase out of (HFC) R-134a beginning in 2011
for all new vehicles, 2017 for all vehicles).
Global Insight was involved in the original stakeholder conference that
considered the implications and need for further regulation to protect the
environment from the release of hydroflurocarbons to the atmosphere.
Many in the industry still question the need for and question the fundamental
basis of this regulation, not least because Europe acts in isolation from the rest
of the world.
Global Insight would be pleased to discuss the background for this significant
industry change with clients.
Certainly the MAC regulation is just one of many additional burdens the
European industry must bear in terms of increased complexity and additional
New Refrigerants
After some discussion the European MAC regulation permits from 2017
refrigerants with a Global Warming Impact of less than 150.The main
contenders as the replacement refrigerants in Europe have been carbon
dioxide(R744),GWP=1 and R152a, GWP =148.
The German industry has led the argument for the switch to CO2 refrigerant
systems, particularly citing efficiency/performance gains and potential in heat
pump vehicle applications. Others, particularly of US origin have cited the
suitability of R152a as a potential replacement not least since it is likely to be
an easier 'drop in' to existing R134a systems.
However flammability concerns of R152a are such that now it is not considered
as a viable replacement in Europe.
While CO2 is attractive from an environmental perspective, components and
systems operate at very high pressures, require some additional components
and to some extent require new manufacturing investment. It is also not a 'drop
in' system for R134a.
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The industry has assumed that the costs of CO2 systems would be neutral with
R134a systems and were thus relaxed about the outcome.
As we have moved closer to its use, vehicle OEMs now commonly cite
additional and unacceptable costs in the range of 100-250 euros. Additional
costs and complexity of operating vehicle platforms with multi refrigerant
systems and service implications also adds to the concern.
The situation for the mass market of small cars is exacerbated further. While
some German luxury car buyers may be able to afford to be green by selecting
more environmentally friendly climate control, this does not apply for small
cars. Small car buyers mainly buy small cars for 'small 'prices'.
Thus the industry has more recently concentrated on optimising CO2 systems
for small cars by trading off performance advantages for lower costs.
Such has been the unknown that most next generation vehicles are designed to
accommodate either R134a or CO2 within the same package envelope. Vehicle
OEMs face a period of utilising multiple refrigerant systems across a single
vehicle platform for at least one vehicle life cycle – an average 6-7 years. The
lack of international consensus of the next refrigerant is also an important
feature, with the prospect of CO systems fitted perhaps on European sales but
not some exports.
Yet the industry looked to be sliding inevitably towards, for many, a
begrudging acceptance that CO2 was the only solution. Yet refrigerant makers
have suggested for some time that, it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility
of a new synthetic refrigerant being developed that might compete with CO2.
The most recent announcements from Dupont and Honeywell confirm the
potential for such an alternative or indeed a range of alternatives that would
meet the GWP limit of 150. Moreover, the announcements suggest the prospect
of a system with neutral costs; that would be 'compatible with conventional
hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) 134a automotive air conditioning systems with the
potential for only minor modifications'.
If these new refrigerants can be commercialized within five years this would
meet the 2011 European Union environmental standards mandating the phase
out of R-134a beginning in 2011 for all new vehicles.
For many in the industry, the arrival of new alternatives is attractive even if
testing will take some time. For others CO2 may still be the preferred route.
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Global Insight's automotive team has specialised for nearly two decades in
forecasting of OE, Retrofit and Aftermarket for vehicle heating and air
conditioning systems.
Most tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 component and system manufacturers rely on Global
Insight's detailed documentation and forecasts of penetration, component
technology, suppliers and manufacturer origins for all major components.
Global Insight is pleased to announce the availability of the first detailed vehicle
model/platform forecasts of competing refrigerants for light vehicle a/c systems.
These forecasts are driven by four different scenarios based on different
assumptions of refrigerant availability, applications, system costs and
In addition to the availability of forecasts by vehicle model and platform, for each
refrigerant type, Global Insight offers more summarised analysis of the outcomes
at a total market, segment and ,OEM level.
Service Characteristics
Global Insight's forecast service now considers all of the above to provide the
first recognised alternative refrigerant forecast service. The forecasts take into
account at a vehicle model/platform level
-OE a/c penetration rate
-Vehicle replacement cycles, new and facelift launches to 2017
-European versus International sales mix
-OEM propensity for new refrigerants
-OEM market and brand position
This service utilises four alternative scenarios for refrigerant change in West
European light vehicles,:
1. 'Easy Now to CO2'-conservative move to carbon dioxide….
2. 'Two why Not Three'-new alternative refrigerants, but later arrival…..
3. 'Simple Divide'- carbon dioxide preferred by luxury cars, but
alternative refrigerant on time…………..
4. 'Full Ahead to CO2'-rapid move to carbon dioxide, single refrigerant
vehicle platforms, no real alternatives….
Each of the above are defined with detailed assumptions
For further information on this service, please contact:
David Smith-Tilley
Director Auto Consulting, London
Tel: 44 7941 989 606
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