Volkswagen goes greener by cooling off customers with CO2-based A/C

VW Beetle Convertible

Volkswagen wants to be both the world’s biggest automaker and also its most sustainable by 2018.

Volkswagen announced at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this month that it will pump over two-thirds of its total investment capitol into “the development of efficient technologies, drive systems and vehicles, as well as in environmentally sustainable production.”

First on its list of new, sustainable technologies: vehicle air conditioning systems cooled by carbon dioxide (CO2).

Modern A/C systems have been historically cooled by contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are commonly referred to by the DuPont brand name “Freon.” CFCs were a big cause of the hole in the ozone layer and have been phased out in place of other more eco-friendly refrigerants.

Volkswagen wants to take A/C cooling eco-friendliness one step further replacing current refrigerant with a CO2-based refrigerant, called “R744,” across its vehicle lineup.

The benefit of R744 over other refrigerants is that it is naturally occurring. The European Union limits automakers to a Global Warming Potential (GWP) factor of 150. On that scale, R744 clocks in as a rock-bottom “1.”

We’re impressed with the leaps and bounds Volkswagen is making in efficiencies and green technologies. With its recent unveiling of the XL1 hyper-mileage car and now it’s R744 refrigerant, it is plainly clear VW is very serious about achieving its lofty green goals.