Automotive Air Conditioning History
Motor Trend StaffWords
- The 1940 Packard was the first car to offer factory-installed air-conditioning.
- By 1969, more than half of all new cars sold were equipped with A/C.
- Some brands affixed window decals to promote their air-conditioned automobiles.
- For cars not equipped with factory air, dealer-installed, under-dash units were popular.
- In a 1971 front-page story, the New York Times implicated air-conditioning in the death of the convertible, postulating that: "In the age of air-conditioning, real air has lost its value."
- After the freon used in A/C units was blamed for depleting the ozone layer, automakers were required to switch from R12 to the less harmful R134a refrigerant by 1996.
- Dual-zone automatic climate control allows for separate temperature settings for driver and passenger; some cars have additional zones for rear-seat passengers.
- Volkswagen calls its manual air-conditioning system "Climatic;" automatic A/C is "Climatronic."
- Today, more than 99 percent of all new cars are air-conditioned.
- There's no A/C in base versions of the Chevrolet Aveo; Honda Civic; Hyundai Accent and Elantra; Jeep Wrangler; Kia Forte and Rio; Mazda 3; Mitsubishi Lancer; Nissan Versa; and Toyota Tacoma.
- Testing by Consumer Reports found that using a car's air-conditioner resulted in a more than 3-mpg loss at highway speeds. Driving with the windows open had no measurable effect on fuel economy.