It's never been uncommon for automakers to vary specification by market – emissions control and safety equipment not being fitted for markets where not compulsory – but now Tesla is under fire in China for using lower specification computer chips than in other markets.
According to a Reuters report, the Chinese industry ministry said on Tuesday it had urged Tesla to keep its China-made vehicles consistent after some local buyers complained the automaker put less advanced computer chips in their cars.
The report said Tesla began delivering Chinese made Model 3 EVs from its new US$2bn Shanghai factory last December but some buyers said on Chinese social media control units in their cars run on HW2.5 chips which are less advanced than the HW3.0 chips listed on the specification sheets.
HW3.0 chips are necessary for the full self driving mode in the cars' driver assistance system a factory option.
In a post on its Weibo account last week cited by Reuters, Tesla said the swap was due to a lack of supply of the HW3.0 chips and the company would replace the chip for customers who received cars with the HW2.5 systems.