Tesla Makes Moves to Roll Out Its Controversial “Full Self-Driving” Tech in China

Big in China

Despite all the evidence suggesting that Tesla's so-called "Full Self-Driving" mode is potentially dangerous, the Elon Musk-owned electric vehicle company is pushing to introduce it to Chinese consumers.

As Reuters reports, people familiar with the effort said that the company is getting ready to register its FSD software with Chinese authorities as a prelude to a larger rollout in the People's Republic, its second-largest market after the United States, later this year.

Tesla is also considering turning it into a monthly subscription in the country, according to Reuters' sources.

However, it remains unclear how FSD's terrible track record, which has garnered multiple US investigations and led to hundreds of crashes and dozens of deaths, would affect the push.

Hedging Bets

News of this potential update to Tesla's China offerings comes, strangely enough, after Nikkei Asia reported that the company is pushing its suppliers to start buying components for its EVs outside of China and Taiwan.

Several supply chain executives said the request cited "mounting geopolitical risks" regarding the United States' upcoming presidential election — which Musk, to his end, has been working to influence in favor of Donald Trump.

In the backdrop of both of these seemingly disparate pushes is President Joe Biden's decision to greatly increase tariffs on electric vehicles from China. The push to diversify supply chains out of China and Taiwan began, however, before those tariffs were announced.

These Chinese moves also come amid a horrible financial year for Tesla. Should the FSD rollout go through in China, it could open a much-needed new revenue stream for the company that's seen its stock price plummet amid its boisterous CEO's politicking and an increasingly competitive EV market.

As with anything related to US-China relations, there are clearly a lot of delicate moving parts here — and it's hard to imagine a bull in an antique shop like Musk handling any of it well.

More on FSD: Tesla Forced to Face Lawsuit by Drivers Who Says Elon Misled About Autopilot, FSD Capabilities