Hi-Po Copper-Infused Brakes Stop Camaro Sales in Washington and California
Chevrolet dealers will have to take a break from ordering high-performance, 2021 model year Camaros in the states of Washington and California. The ZL1, SS, and 1LE have a certain type of brake pad that is no longer allowed as of this past November. The brand confirmed the pause to GM Authority.
“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,” said senior manager, Chevrolet cars and crossover communications at General Motors, Kevin M. Kelly, in a statement to GM Authority. “Customers can, however, purchase these models from available dealer stock in those states.”
So, there are still ways to get one of those coupes or convertibles, but if dealers run out, you’ll have to wait until 2022.
“We will resume allowing customers in California and Washington state to order the Camaro SS, ZL1, and 1LE models in 2022 when we introduce a new brake system that is compliant with the copper requirements,” Kelly added.
This has to do with the Better Brakes Law, passed in Washington in 2010 and the California Motor Vehicle Brake Friction Material Law, also passed in 2010, that requires manufacturers to phase out copper in their brake pads. “Vehicle brake pads manufactured after 2021 must contain less than 5 percent copper by weight. By 2025, brake pads must contain less than 0.5 percent copper.” Both California and Washington have similar language and levels of copper reduction.
“As brake pads wear down, copper and other metals in brake dust are deposited on roadways, where they are washed into streams and rivers, according to the Washington Department of Ecology. “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. In urban areas, brake pads account for up to half of the copper entering our waterways—66 tons (60,000 kilograms) of copper a year enters Puget Sound from vehicle brake pads. When Washington’s Better Brakes Law is fully implemented in 2025, this source of copper will be virtually eliminated.”
You can still get a V8 in those states, but you’ll have to stick to the Camaro LT1, which has the 6.2-liter V8, but not the brakes with copper. For the record, the Corvette C8 was designed with the copper restrictions in mind, so those pads are good in all 50 states. Same with the Ford Shelby GT500 and the rest of the 2021 Mustang lineup.
We asked a Brembo rep about the process, and what it will take to eliminate the metal.
“We’ve actually been working with the manufacturers on this for several years and developed many copper-free friction materials that meet performance targets for high-performance applications,” said Brembo OE Program Manager, Benjamin Pohl.
Size of the hardware, size of the vehicle, and performance targets are all factors that you have to consider when introducing copper-free materials.
But brake technology advances quickly. “Every year we’re seeing new and improved materials to replace copper,” said Pohl.
If you’re looking for a 2021 Camaro ZL1, SS, or 1LE, go get it now. If you can wait a year or so, you get the extra bonus of feeling like an environmentalist…with your rear-wheel drive, V8 muscle car, relatively speaking.
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