In an irony probably lost on General Motors, California has banned until further notice the sale of the Chevy Camaro SS and ZL1 – the high-performance versions of the Camaro – on the basis of “concerns” about the effect on the environment of brake pad emissions.
The fade-resistant high-performance pads used in these models “emit” trace amounts of vaporized/powderized heavy metals such as copper and asbestos during braking and these “emissions” have been illegalized by decree of then-Republican (like margarine in relation to butter) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, effective January 1 of 2021.
Because of the alleged threat posed to fish.
If the fish were Going to Die they would already be long-dead, given that such things as asbestos and copper have been “emitting” from brake pads for the past 100 years.
No Camaros for you, CA!
Well, no SS or ZL1 Camaros. Possibly other GM models with high-performance brakes as well, including the Corvette.
Legislation begins to have consequences, as much as elections – especially when they are stolen.
By 2025 – only four model years from now – CA law will require that all brake pads be zero emissions – which is a really clever regulatory assault on all cars that aren’t electric cars. Such cars rely entirely on brake pads to slow down. And so they wear faster – and “emit” more.
Electric cars have brakes, too – but also rely on engine braking – or rather motor braking – to slow down. The motor that spins to propel can also apply drag to slow – and recover charge in the process, converting the kinetic energy of the moving vehicle into electricity rather than heat (and brake dust).
This is why an EV’s brake pads usually last longer than a not-electric car’s.
It’s a perk, if you don’t count the expense of the electric car itself – which is the way the thing is usually presented. You’ll save so much money on brakes! And oil changes! Which is true. It is also true you’ll pay through the nose for all those savings, as would be the case if you sold your $200k home with single-paned windows and bought a $320k home with triple-paned windows, to save money on utilities.
While the focus of the moment is on CA not allowing the sale of a small number of brand-new high-performance cars equipped with high-performance brake pads, the pending 2025 ban on brake pads generally could accelerate the economic obsoleting of all cars in CA that aren’t electric, not just the sale of new ones.
The parallel here is the ‘90s-era regulatory obsoleting of Freon-based car AC systems, which have become so expensive to keep going that it’s often not worth keeping the car going. The refrigerant was gradually banned – once again, in the supposed name of “environmental” considerations. It is no longer possible to buy it over the counter without special “certification” from the government and even if you have the necessary permission, the cost of the stuff is astounding.
Without working AC, a car isn’t worth much.
There are, of course, alternatives to Freon (all cars made since the late ’90s use a different refrigerant) and there will probably also be alternatives to the forbidden materials currently used in brake pads. But the cost of these replacements will function in the manner that costs always do – as a disincentive.
People buy less the more things cost.
Nathan Medina, an attorney representing car dealerships who stand to lose a lot of money on account of these costs, explains:
“Today, it’s only a few types of car . . . but these regulations are only going to get stricter, including that all-out ban in 2025. The U.S. auto industry isn’t doing so hot and these regulations are costing automakers money by being unable to sell them and forcing them to spend more time figuring out ways to make them compliant. So far, it’s two types of high-end cars that need those kinds of brakes. But in the coming years, we could see a lot more types of cars failing to meet those higher and higher standards.”
Which appears to be exactly what’s wanted.
The fish being just the excuse, like the cases! the cases! serves as the excuse to impose the wearing of the Holy Rag and the soon-to-come Holy Jab.
And it won’t be just California, either – as far as no Camaros, et al, for you. What California decrees usually applies everywhere, as far as what’s applied to new cars generally goes. The car companies find it easier to cave to California – and impose the California Way on the rest of the country.
Which brings up the irony mentioned earlier.
GM had opposed California’s attempt to de facto decree national “emissions” standards by dint of imposing them in California – and thus making it necessary for car companies to either build two variants of cars, one for CA and another for the other states – or build one California car for all the states.
But with the very bad Orange Man on the outs, GM jumped over to hump the leg of the other side – and now supports CA-for-everyone cars. Which means it will have trouble selling cars like the Camaro and all other non-electric cars everywhere.
But that may not be irony at all.
. . .
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