The Chinese government has banned the parking of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) electric vehicles inside government compounds because of security concerns over cameras installed on the cars. The directive comes as Tesla continues to equip its vehicles with more sensors and cameras to capture images of their surroundings. Control of how the photos the car gathers are used and where they are used is increasingly becoming a contentious issue.
Government compounds ban parking of Tesla vehicles.
According to two people familiar with the matter, two government agencies in Shanghai and Beijing have instructed government staff not to park their Tesla cars at work. The people who sought anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity said that it is still unclear how many vehicles the ban will affect. Equally, it is unclear whether all Beijing government offices have imposed this restriction or a formal government measure adopted by agency officials. For now, the curbs are applying in Beijing and Shanghai, and there are no reports regarding their application nationwide.
The cameras and sensors are a vital driving assistance feature installed in most cars. However, the people familiar with the matter indicated that the restriction only applies to Tesla cars. The Chinese government banned Tesla cars from entering military complexes in March because of security concerns over the car cameras.
China wary of Tesla cars’ cameras
Interestingly, neither Tesla China officials nor the State Council Information Officer, which handles the Chinese government’s media requests, has commented on the ban. The latest move to bar Tesla cars from government compounds is a fresh indication of Beijing’s growing wariness of the electric carmaker as tension with Washington ensues.
Industry sources indicate that Tesla, which is facing growing scrutiny following highly publicized customer complaints and safety in China, has increased its engagement with Chinese regulators and enhanced its government relations group.
Currently, China is the biggest car mark and is the second biggest EV market accounting for almost 30% of the sales. The US-car manufacturers produced Electric Model Y SUVs and Model 3 sedans at its gigafactory in Shanghai.