Tesla promises platform to allow data access in China – will it be enough?

Tesla China
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla electric vehicle (EV) drives past a crossing in Shanghai, China March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – US electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc said on Thursday it was developing a platform for car owners in China that will allow them to access data generated by their vehicles.

Tesla, which makes Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles at its Shanghai factory, aims to launch the data platform this year, it said in a statement.

This is the first time an automaker has announced plans to allow customers access car data in China, the world’s biggest car market.

Automakers for the past several years have been equipping more vehicles with cameras and sensors to capture images of a car’s surroundings. Control of use, sending and storage of these images is a fast-emerging challenge for the industry and regulators worldwide.

China last month published draft rules to ensure the security of data generated by smart cars. Data collected from Tesla electric cars in China is stored in the country, a company executive said last month.

Tesla in April was targeted by state media and regulators after a customer, angry over the handling of her complaint about malfunctioning brakes, climbed on top of a Tesla car in protest at the Shanghai auto show. Videos of the incident went viral.

Tesla provided the data related to the brake incident to the customer complying with the local authorities’ order.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Rashmi Aich and Vinay Dwivedi)

Editor’s comment: While Tesla is making a huge effort to get their Chinese strategy right, the company is still falling short in the most important challenge needed to ‘crack China’ – to become local. The company has hired local executives, planned local events, and is willing to develop platforms for the Chinese market. Yet, as the related article suggests, Tesla’s terrible week in China was years in the making. Whether it will ultimately succeed is still open to question but one thing is for sure – it is trying very hard.

Related article: Tesla’s terrible week in China has been years in the making

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