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Electric yf

June is hybrid month at MACS, and since we looked at the overall industry last month when it comes to its use of R-1234yf refrigerant, let’s take a closer look this month at what’s happening with hybrid and battery electric vehicles.
As reported, we surveyed almost 180 vehicles at the 2020 Philadelphia Auto Show in February, and observed that more than 75% of them use yf. Twelve of those were either hybrids or full battery electric vehicles, all of which use an electric compressor. See Figure 1. Of those twelve, eight systems use R-1234yf, which comes out to about 67%.
Looking at vehicles still using R-134a, we find Volvo’s XC60 and XC90 T8 hybrids, Hyundai’s Ioniq hybrid and the iconic Toyota Prius. All of these models have been around for a while (Prius since 1997; XC60 and Ioniq since 2016; and XC90 since 2017). In short, they were developed at a time when R-134a was still mainstream.
Now we’re in the fourth generation of Toyota’s Prius family. If we follow Prius history, we should see a new generation in either 2021 or 2022 (their gens usually last 6 or 7 years on average). Thus, indications point to a launch of the next iteration of the most popular green vehicle finally changing to yf. The same assumption goes for Ioniq and the Volvos. As their platforms advance, we expect them to use yf going forward.

Figure 1: Here’s a list of all the hybrid and electric vehicles we saw at the 2020 Philadelphia Auto Show. We expected all of them to be using POE oil, and were surprised to see Volvo underhood labels calling for “Volvo-PAG” refrigerant oil. Closer inspection on the compressor itself indicates they use Sanden compressors, and the label says to use SP-A2 oil, which we have learned is a specially formulated, high dielectric PAG oil made specifically for these compressors.

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