China, the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles, is key to Elon Musk’s global growth ambitions.
Tesla Inc. cars have been banned from Chinese military complexes and housing compounds because of concerns about sensitive data being collected by cameras built into the vehicles.
The order, issued by the military, advises Tesla owners to park their cars outside of military property, according to people familiar with the directive who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The ban, relayed to residents of military housing this week, was triggered by concerns that the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles is collecting sensitive data via the cars’ in-built cameras in a way the Chinese government can’t see or control, one of the people said.
Images of what was purported to be a notice about the ban were also circulating on Chinese social media. Multi-direction cameras and ultrasonic sensors in Tesla cars may “expose locations” and the vehicles are being barred from military residences to ensure the safety of confidential military information, the notice said.
A representative for Tesla in China declined to comment on the military’s move. China’s Defense Ministry didn’t immediately respond to a fax sent after after business hours.