* Daimler says new type of coolant is dangerous
* Commission says it cannot comment, so does Daimler
By Ilona Wissenbach and Francesco Guarascio
STUTTGART, Germany/BRUSSELS, Jan 20 The European
Commission is expected to launch legal action against Germany
over Daimler's refusal to remove a banned refrigerant
from new cars, EU sources said on Monday.
A final decision on legal action against Germany could be
taken as early as Wednesday, two sources, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said.
Officials have for months been investigating the German
luxury carmaker's refusal, backed by Berlin, to follow an EU law
banning the air-conditioning coolant known as R134a from the
start of last year.
The carmaker insists its refusal to phase out R134a, a
global warming agent more than 1,000 times more potent than
carbon dioxide, is justified by safety concerns.
The only available replacement, Honeywell's R1234yf
has a global warming potential only four times more than carbon
dioxide but Daimler says it can emit toxic hydrogen fluoride gas
when it burns.
"Germany could so far not prove that R1234yf is so dangerous
that a violation of the rule is justified," one of the EU
sources told Reuters.
A second said: "The opening of the infringement procedure is
imminent. If it will not be at this round of infringements, it
will be next month."
After safety tests, other European carmakers have switched
their newest models to the coolant developed by Honeywell in
partnership with Dupont.
The Commission said it could not comment before Wednesday
and Daimler also said it could not comment.
Under the EU infringement system, countries found not to be
enforcing the bloc's law can be taken to the European Union's
top courts in Luxembourg, which have the power to impose fines.