Chinese car manufacturer Xpeng introduced two electric cars to the market, the Xpeng P7, to attack the Tesl Model 3 market, and the Xpeng G3 2020 SUV, to compete directly with the Tesla Model Y. However, Xpeng trams may be equipped with technology that Tesla says was stolen. The Chinese company refutes the accusations and points to the Musk company's attitude as racism. Even involved in this exchange of accusations, the brand wants to mark the segment with an electric car that costs half of Tesla's Model Y.
Last year, the American car manufacturer filed a lawsuit against a former employee who was involved in the development of autopilot. According to the information, the employee was accused of stealing the source code of the system to deliver it to the company Xpeng.
Tesla has been a victim of intellectual property theft
It is not a unique case and there are several events in which Tesla is grappling with this type of problem. In 2018, the company sued a former employee for hacking, theft and information leakage. Last year, Tesla filed a lawsuit against a former employee. The employee, who was on the autopilot development team, allegedly stole the system's source code to deliver it to Xpeng, a Chinese manufacturer that has sparked industry interest in recent times thanks to interesting proposals like the G3 SUV or the P7 sedan.
Tesla claimed that Guangzhi Cao, a former employee of the company, stole the source code and gave it to the competition. He is one of the forty people in the company who had access to this information. At that time, Musk's company claimed that as early as 2018, Cao started uploading full copies of the autopilot source code to its iCloud account.
After accepting a position at Xpeng, Cao reportedly deleted 120,000 files from his work computer and disconnected his personal iCloud account. In addition, the former employee has repeatedly hacked Tesla's secure networks to remove his browser history.
Thus, Xpeng could have had unlimited and illegal access to technology that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and several years to develop. The former employee confessed to having downloaded part of the autopilot source code. He later claimed to have erased it before leaving Tesla and never giving it to Xpeng.
Xpeng is not aware of any crime
According to Xpeng, there is no knowledge of any crime committed by Cao, claiming to respect intellectual property rights. The truth is that, despite the fact that the Asian company promised to carry out an investigation, the fact that the interface of its autonomous driving system is identical to that of the Autopilot triggered all the alarms.
Now, Tesla has taken another step forward. According to what has been said, both Cao and a former Apple engineer, who was once accused of a similar crime, may have been recruited by the same person from Xpeng, in order to obtain trade secrets.
The greater the similarity between the two cases, the less likely that such similarities can be excluded as a mere coincidence and the greater the probability that they are the result of planning and coordination.
However, in a conversation that Cao had with a friend, when he learned of the news of the arrest of the former Apple engineer, it can be seen that the still Tesla employee at the time, said that the accused “had given a bad image of all Chinese ”and that he was“ happy that he didn't go to Xpeng ”.
Xpeng responded, implying that Tesla's statements are racist, while the American company requires its rival to publish its source code and documents related to the hiring of Cao and the former Apple engineer.
Therefore, Tesla has a rival that could undermine its sales in China with similar technologies, but at half the price.