How Mercedes shook Europe's green car push

After engineers at Mercedes-Benz watched a new refrigerant ignite in a ball of fire before their eyes, they realised it could alter the push toward cleaner car air-con. But is it just an engineered fear campaign?

When engineers at Mercedes-Benz tasked with field-testing a revolutionary new refrigerant watched it ignite in a ball of fire before their eyes, it took a while for the significance of their discovery to sink in.

Simulating a leak in the air-conditioning line of a Mercedes B-Class tourer, they had released a fine mixture of refrigerant and A/C compressor oil, which sprayed across the car's turbo-charged 1.6 litre engine.

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