In China, more than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and US-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to government-backed monitoring centres on car owners. The Chinese government’s ability to grab data as it flows from cars, gives its academics and policymakers an edge over competing nations but raises privacy concerns.