Tesla says it can’t make affordable autonomous vehicles without China’s help

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Tesla says it can’t make affordable autonomous vehicles without China’s help

By Dave Gershgorn

If Tesla CEO Elon Musk is ever going to sell fully autonomous cars, it seems as though he’s going to need China to help him do it.

Since July 2018, Tesla has petitioned the US government to exclude an electronic control unit for its Model S, Model X, and Model 3 from a 25% tariff when importing the part, according to government filings obtained by Reuters and TechCrunch. Authorities have denied the requests for the Models S and X, and the Model 3’s request is still pending.

The electronic control unit that Tesla is trying to exempt was described as the “brain” of the car in the documents. At a company event last month, Elon Musk said that this Autopilot 3.0 hardware would be the technology to allow full self-driving capabilities on Tesla vehicles. While Tesla designs all of these hardware components internally, it relies on other companies around the world to actually manufacture the parts on a large scale for the production of vehicles.

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