If Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, is ever going to sell totally autonomous cars, it looks like he's going to need China to help him do it.
Since July 2018, Tesla has applied to the US government. UU That it excludes an electronic control unit for its Model S, Model X and Model 3 from a 25% tariff when importing the piece, according to government presentations obtained by Reuters and TechCrunch. The authorities have rejected requests for Model S and X, and the Model 3 application is still pending.
The electronic control unit that Tesla is trying to exempt was described as the "brain" of the automobile in the documents. At a company event last month, Elon Musk said that this Autopilot 3.0 hardware would be the technology that would allow complete self-driving capabilities in Tesla vehicles. While Tesla designs all of these hardware components internally, it relies on other companies around the world to actually manufacture the large-scale parts for vehicle production.
But Tesla says that, since his time line from development to production is only six months, there are no other countries that can deliver flawless pieces in such a short period of time.
"Tesla could not obtain the manufacturing source of Autopilot 3.0 ECU in the United States," reads a file from the company. "We are targeting industry experts who could achieve this quality and complexity in addition to deadlines, which was not possible outside of China."
The location of Quanta Computer in Shanghai, where Tesla is manufacturing the parts, is not solely responsible for the technology, says TechCrunch. One of the chips that accelerates artificial intelligence processes in the Autopilot 3.0 hardware is Samsung, for example, in Texas.
These parts are of crucial importance for the future that Musk foresees for Tesla. Last month he said his cars would be "appreciating badets," meaning they would become more valuable over time, due to improvements in automatic driver software update in Autopilot 3.0 hardware.
To update: This article has been updated to clarify that Tesla designs its own hardware, but relies on external companies to manufacture parts for the production of vehicles.