Tesla electric cars banned from entering China government compounds: Sources

Tesla's trouble in China seems far from over. Its CEO Elon Musk's attempt to placate the Chinese authorities over suspicion of Tesla cars being used as a tool to spy has not been able to cut the ice so far. In the latest developments, sources say that some of the Chinese government offices have now been ruled as a no parking zone for Tesla's electric cars.

Tesla vehicles parked outside a building at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound during a meeting between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing. (File photo) (REUTERS)
Tesla vehicles parked outside a building at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound during a meeting between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing. (File photo)

In the latest move, at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have been instructed verbally to stop allowing Tesla electric cars being parked near the offices.

Also Read : Trouble in paradise? Tesla-China love boat may have hit stormy weather

The decision has been taken due to security concerns over cameras placed inside the Tesla electric vehicles. The same concern has been raised with Tesla earlier as well.

China had recently come down hard on Tesla cars being parked in high-security zones like military complexes thinking that these EVs can be misused to spy and store sensitive data.

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The State Council Information Office (SCIO), which handles media requests for China's government, and Tesla China officials have not responded on the latest developments yet.

Tesla cars have cameras installed inside which are used for advanced drive features like park assist, autopilot and self-driving. Some of the Tesla cars have a camera even inside the cabin to keep an eye on the driver's attention span, among others.

Earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had denied that his EV manufacturing company pose any such threats to China. Days after the March ban on Tesla cars in military complexes, Musk told China that if his company used cars to spy in China or anywhere, it would be shut down.

In an attempt to placate the authorities, Tesla had also clarified that cameras on its electric cars aren't activated anywhere outside of North America and that customers in the US too had the option of either having these cameras on or off.

China remains Tesla's second biggest market outside United States. Around 30 per cent of Tesla's global sales come from China, the world's biggest market for auto industry. China is also the first country outside Tesla's home base in California, where it had set up its gigafactory manufacturing facility. Located in Shanghai, the facility is used by Tesla to produce Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs.

First Published Date: 21 May 2021, 11:11 AM IST
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