New Bill Targets Chinese Connected, Electric Cars

The Connected Vehicle National Security Review Act would ban connected and electric vehicles from China and other countries of concern

Graham Hope

May 31, 2024

2 Min Read
Cars in a car lot
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Proposed new legislation could see connected vehicles and electric cars from China or “other countries of concern” banned in the United States.

The Connected Vehicle National Security Review Act is being introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), who is a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official.

Alongside massively inflated import tariffs recently announced by President Joe Biden, the bill could play a part in preventing Chinese EVs from stealing sales away from domestic manufacturers.

But as Slotkin explained to Congress at the start of May, there are security concerns about Chinese electric and autonomous cars, too.

And she expanded on this threat as she announced the proposed new legislation.

“Today’s vehicles are more sophisticated than ever, carrying cameras, radars and other sophisticated sensors, plus the ability to process, transmit and store the data they gather from the United States,” Slotkin said.

“If allowed into our markets, Chinese connected vehicles offer the Chinese government a treasure trove of valuable intelligence on the United States, including the potential to collect information on our military bases, critical infrastructure like the power grid and traffic systems, and even locate specific U.S. leaders should they so choose.”

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“China owns a fast-growing share of the connected auto market in Europe and Mexico, so now is the time to make sure our defenses are up, before these vehicles enter the US market.”

Slotkin has worked alongside the Department of Commerce to formulate what a security review of Chinese connected vehicles would constitute.

Specifically, it would allow the department to investigate a “connected vehicle designed, built, or supplied by anyone controlled by or subject to the jurisdiction of one of six countries of concern, including China.” This even includes vehicles built in a third country, such as Mexico – a probable nod to BYD’s admission earlier this year that it would like to build there.

It would also be able to review any vehicle that presents an “unacceptable risk,” such as sabotage of electrical systems, with the ultimate sanction that it could be prohibited from sale in America.

The last three years have seen an explosion in the number of affordable electric cars being developed by Chinese companies, many under new brand names and with varying degrees of connectivity and automation.

While these brands have not yet made major inroads into the U.S., the landscape is very different elsewhere, particularly South and Central America and Europe.

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Slotkin’s bill could theoretically stop these cars from entering the US, but such is the extent of its reach, it could also apply to models from familiar names like Volvo and Polestar – owned by Hangzhou’s Geely – even if they are not manufactured in China.

Similarly, Waymo’s new purpose-built self-driving taxi, built on a Geely platform in tandem with Zeekr, could also be affected.

Slotkin says the bill will be introduced after Congress returns from Memorial Day recess.

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About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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