The US Government has launched its latest campaign against Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs), claiming the data collected by certain cars can pose a national security risk.
As reported by Bloomberg, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo made the anti-Chinese EV comments amid increasing tensions between the US Government and carmakers which rely heavily on China for production.
According to Secretary Raimondo, EVs and autonomous vehicles are “collecting a huge amount of information about the driver, the location of the vehicle, the surroundings of the vehicle”.
“Do we want all that data going to Beijing?” she added.
A Commerce Department official later told Bloomberg that Ms Raimondo’s comments reflected an ever-increasing focus from the US Government to reduce national security threats, which it believes could come from leaked personal data.
Last year, the US introduced new conditions for vehicles to be eligible for its US$7500 (A$11,470) EV subsidy, making it impossible for Chinese cars to qualify for the rebate.
Only EVs built in North America are able to access the subsidy, and 40 per cent of the materials used in their battery packs must be sourced from the region or a US trade partner.
This will continue to increase in 10 per cent increments every year until 2030, when a requirement for 100 per cent North American or US trade partner battery materials is reached.
However, the restriction impacts just one Chinese-made EV, the Polestar 2. No other EVs sold in the US are made in China by brands based there.
A Polestar Australia spokesperson clarified the company’s data storing policies, with its methods unlikely to be scrutinised by the US.
“Personal data for customer cars in all countries outside of China are processed and stored in accordance with applicable laws, on data servers outside of China,” said the spokesperson. “Only personal data for customer cars in China are processed and stored on data servers in China.
“While data related to car safety and functionality is captured by Polestar 2, it does not store internal or external visual or audio recordings. In most cases, customers can choose to not consent to personal data being shared with Polestar.
“Polestar cars run on Google Android Automotive OS and Google Automotive Services (Google Maps, Google Assistant and Google PlayStore). When users accept Google’s Terms of Service, the cars may share data with Google LLC in the US. Such data sharing is controlled by Google without the involvement of Polestar.”
While no Chinese brands currently sell vehicles in the US, there are a handful of Chinese-built vehicles there including the aforementioned Polestar and the Buick Envision.
South of the border, however, the Mexican market is now teeming with Chinese brands including MG and Chirey (aka Chery).