Automotive HVAC market heats up

R-1234yf is mandated by the European Union for adoption in all cars by 2017; but production volumes, price and safety issues are causing concern.

02/25/2013


IMS Research (acquired by IHS, Inc.)The refrigerant R-1234yf used in automotive HVAC systems is causing controversy throughout the supply chain. R-1234yf is mandated by the European Union for adoption in all cars by 2017, but production volumes, price and safety issues are causing concern. A report from IMS Research (now part of IHS Inc.) titled, The World Market for Automotive OEM Electronic Systems – 2013 Edition, analyses what impact this refrigerant will have, the total automotive HVAC market and the split between manual and automatic HVAC. Analysis on 35 other automotive electronic systems is also included in this study.

Refrigerant R-1234yf has been developed for automotive HVAC units by Honeywell and DuPont. The aim is to replace the traditional R-134a refrigerant found in most automotive HVAC units, with the more environmentally friendly R-1234yf. However, with only two suppliers of this refrigerant, there has already been a shortage of R-1234yf. This production shortfall will need to be addressed for future applications.

An advantage of R-1234yf is that it can be used in current automotive HVAC systems, with few modifications. “Using R-1234yf in existing Tier 1 automotive HVAC systems would mean some alterations to system design. This could raise system price by $50-75”, said Ben Scott, analyst with IMS Research. “The price of R-1234yf is also considerably higher than R-134a.” This could be an issue for Tier 1s and OEMs alike as they look to justify the price to their customers.

Safety is critical in the automotive market. R-1234yf has been rigorously tested and meets safety regulations within the European Union. However, in its own independent study, Daimler has cast doubt onto the safety of this refrigerant. Daimler found R-1234yf to combust when it touches a hot engine, while R-134a did not, in the same test. “Although this could be a legitimate result to a test with R-1234yf, it could be Daimler trying to avoid using the new refrigerant, because of the high system and development cost”, said Scott. However, R-1234yf still has backing from Toyota and GM.

The controversy surrounding R-1234yf and R-134a needs to be resolved soon because this could impact the fitment of HVAC systems within cars. Some form of air conditioning is now expected to feature in most B and C segment vehicles, with a definite trend towards ‘automatic’ HVAC over ‘manual.’ It is estimated that globally, over one third of vehicles had automatic HVAC in 2010, rising to over half of all vehicles by 2020.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Big plans for small nuclear reactors: Simpler, safer control designs; Smarter manufacturing; Industrial cloud; Mobile HMI; Controls convergence
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.