Risky High Tech Bickering Between US and China

Todd Moses
May 09, 2024

A new report says one of Tesla's top executives has been reassigned to China, another sign that Elon Musk is tightening his grip on the electric car maker.

Inputs that matter: Electrek reports that Tom Zhu, who was previously in charge of Tesla's U.S. plants and sales, has been named the company's vice president of China.

  • Musk has now resumed control of Tesla's North American sales operations, Electrek reports.
  • In recent weeks, Tesla has undergone multiple layoffs and seen the departure of roughly half a dozen top executives, including Drew Baglino, the SVP of powertrain and electrical engineering, and Rohan Patel, the V.P. of public policy and business development.
  • China has 23.8% E.V. adoption, and the U.S. has 8.1%, which is Tesla's core market.

The opportunity: The United States has taken further action to limit China's technological advancement, revoking licenses that allowed Intel and Qualcomm to buy and sell chips to Huawei Technologies.

  • Huawei has been on U.S. trade restrictions lists since 2019 but has recently made progress that worries the U.S. government, such as last month's AI-enabled laptop.
  • National security experts have accused Huawei of helping China to conduct cyber espionage.

Zoom in: Meanwhile, TikTok is suing the federal government over a new law that will ban the app next year unless its parent company, China-based ByteDance, finds a non-Chinese buyer.

  • The lawsuit alleges the ban is unconstitutional and amounts to an unprecedented suppression of free speech.

Between the lines: Renewable energy accounted for more than 30% of the world's electricity for the first time last year following a rapid rise in wind and solar power.

  • According to a climate think tank Ember report, clean electricity has helped slow the growth of fossil fuels by almost two-thirds in the past ten years. Renewables, which made up 19% of electricity in 2000, made up more than 30% of global electricity last year.
  • "The renewables future has arrived," said Dave Jones, Ember's global insights director. "Solar, in particular, is accelerating faster than anyone thought possible."

Follow the money: The Verge explains, "Tesla is closing in on a new manufacturing process that could significantly reduce costs and increase production of its electric vehicles."

  • Tesla's new technology and Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi are driving down the cost of E.V.s.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla has been awarded more sites than any other company to help build the nationwide fast charging network.
  • Ford, BMW, Genesis, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Lucid, Mini, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Polestar, Rivian, Toyota, and Volvo can also use the Tesla charging system.

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Read More

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-tightens-grip-tesla-top-exec-redeployed-china-2024-5
  2. https://www.npr.org/2024/05/08/1249896475/up-first-newsletter-tiktok-lawsuit-free-speech-us-israel-bomb-shipment-paused
  3. https://www.engadget.com/us-revokes-intel-and-qualcomms-licenses-for-chip-sales-to-huawei-125304886.html
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/may/08/renewable-energy-passes-30-of-worlds-electricity-supply
  5. https://banananomics.co/a_closer_look_at_ev_demand