If you’ve been eyeing up a new Camaro SS, ZL1 or 1LE but happen to live in California or Washington, you’ll have to purchase yours before 2020 ends, or risk having to wait a year.
Chevrolet dealers in both states have been forced to put a hold on ordering Camaros with those high-performance packages, GM Authority reports. The models’ Brembo brakes are to blame, as new regulations in California and Washington that take effect on January 1, 2021, will ban the sale of brake pads that contain more than 5 percent copper.
Kevin M. Kelly, senior manager for car and crossover communications at Chevrolet, explained to GM Authority that while sales of future Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE vehicles are prohibited for the time being, existing dealer stock is still up for grabs:
Due to restrictions in California and Washington state related to copper brake pads, customers in those states cannot order a 2021 Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE for delivery after January 1, 2021. Customers can, however, purchase these models from available dealer stock in those states.
Still, those Camaros won’t be kept out California and Washington forever. Kelly said that Chevrolet is looking forward to selling them in both states again in 2022, once the company is able to introduce “a new brake system that is compliant with the copper requirements.”
California and Washington signed their respective brake pad bills into law back in 2010. In addition to limiting the amount of copper used in brake pads starting in 2021, the laws also banned heavy metals and asbestos from manufacturing in 2015. In 2025, the laws will become even more stringent, limiting brake pads to a maximum of 0.5 percent carbon composition.
The Washington State Department of Ecology explains the rationale for the legislation on its website:
Although the Better Brakes Law requires manufacturers to reduce or eliminate several toxic chemicals, the major focus is copper. As brake pads wear down, copper and other metals in brake dust are deposited on roadways, where they are washed into streams and rivers.
Copper is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic species. It interferes with their sense of smell, making them more vulnerable to predators. It also reduces their ability to return to their spawning streams. Young salmon are especially susceptible to the effects of copper.
Given that the laws in California and Washington were signed a decade ago, you’d think GM would have had enough time to prepare for this eventuality. In any case, things didn’t end up that way, so now the more track-focused of Chevrolet’s pony cars will have to take a yearlong sabbatical across most of the West Coast.