At face value, Tesla and the ‘American Legislative Exchange Council’ (ALEC), a conservative lobbying group, have little in common considering Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the advent of renewable energy and ALEC has often pushed for regulations to slow the growth of renewable energy, primarily residential solar installations.
But things are changing with the new political climate in the US and Tesla will need to change some minds if it wants to get the legislature on the side of climate. Now the company is not necessarily getting in bed with ALEC, but it did host a party for the launch of the group’s new Energy Innovation Project at its Washington, D.C. showroom – pictured above.
Bloomberg reported on the party last night:
Tesla’s decision to open its D.C. showroom for the ALEC partygoers raised eyebrows among oil, gas and electric companies that are members of the group and already skeptical of its new Energy Innovation Project, funded in part by the environmentally minded ClearPath Foundation. ClearPath and its founder, entrepreneur Jay Faison, are dedicated to persuading conservatives to fight climate change and support clean energy. And in a previous role at another organization, the head of ALEC’s Energy Innovation Project, Sarah Hunt, opined in favor of carbon taxes as “a more elegant, cost-efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
According to Hunt, Tesla is not a member of ALEC and the company’s participation ends with the donation of the showroom for the party. Tesla regularly uses its more upscale retail locations to host events that are not directly related to the company. They are good occasions for the company to showcases its products to people who normally wouldn’t come to the store.
As for hosting for a lobbying group and legislators, Tesla has often used its cars in lobbying efforts in the past, giving rides to congressmen and senators in the Model S when trying to pass legislations to allow its direct sale model.
Despite what can barely be described as a rapprochement between Tesla and ALEC, some are hardly concerned about the situation. Bloomberg reported:
Mike McKenna, a Virginia-based GOP strategist and energy lobbyist, said he fears Tesla’s involvement — however limited — and the creation of the Energy Innovation Project “will both lead to unfortunate deterioration of what has been a very strong focus at ALEC — keeping energy affordable and abundant and trusting consumers more than government.”
In a recent speech after the vote the merge Tesla and SolarCity last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he isn’t overly concerned about the GOP and Trump taking over Washington. He expressed that he even thinks the possible removal of the subsidies for electric vehicles would make Tesla more competitive against other electric automakers and the company aims for its new solar products to be competitive with other forms of energy without subsidies.