According to a study by news agency AP, more than 200 EV manufacturers are transmitting location data to Chinese government agencies, generally without the knowledge of the driver. This means a Tesla driver in China can be followed every step of the way.
The story sounds similar to the scandal of Google having censored their content to be able to trade in the world’s biggest market today. Yet in China, almost all carmakers selling electric vehicles there, deliver the driving data straight to Beijing.
Tesla are not the only ones. China has called upon all electric vehicle manufacturers in China to make the same kind of reports, says AP. The found more than 200 manufacturers, including Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to government-backed monitoring centres.
It is a legal requirement that so far only applies to new energy vehicles. Therefore, we wonder if driving an electric car translates to bonus points in China’s citizen rating system. Chinese officials told AP however, the data is used for analytics to improve public safety, facilitate industrial development and infrastructure planning, and to prevent fraud in subsidy programmes.