In new comments about US manufacturing, President Biden finally acknowledged Tesla as “America’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer,” calming Elon Musk fans who have been raising a big stink for months about the administration overlooking Tesla.
The tension between the Biden administration and Musk and his fans has been growing for months now. The first major blow seems to have been the ceremony where President Biden signed a new executive order for 50% of new cars sold in the United States to be electric by 2030.
Tesla wasn’t invited, and both Musk and many Tesla fans took offense. However, the event was about US automakers, like Ford and GM, committing to go 50% electric by 2030. Tesla is already all electric.
But then the Biden administration, influenced by the United Auto Worker union, pushed for reform of the electric vehicle tax credit to include an additional $4,500 credit per electric vehicle produced at a unionized factory.
Some Tesla fans saw this as an attack on Tesla since the company is the biggest US producer of electric vehicles, and its workforce is not unionized. Musk later called out Biden for “being controlled by unions.”
Things started to escalate from there when President Biden made the undoubtedly ridiculous statement that gave GM CEO Mary Barra credit for ‘electrifying the entire auto industry.’ Biden and his administration have since made several similar claims and appeared to have an issue even mentioning Tesla when it came to electric vehicles, despite the company being the biggest electric vehicle producer in the country and a big part of the administration’s plans to lower emissions.
Last week, the building tension culminated in Musk tweeting at POTUS to mention Tesla and his fans then pilling on with a petition and even an ad in Times Square to pressure the president into acknowledging Tesla.
It looks like the effort worked.
In new remarks today about US manufacturing, including an announcement of new factories coming to the nation, President Biden mentioned Tesla and said that the company is “our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer”:
Since 2021, companies have announced investments totaling more than $200 billion in domestic manufacturing here in America, from iconic companies like GM and Ford building out new electric vehicle production; to Tesla, our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer; to innovative younger companies like Rivian, building electric trucks, or Proterra, building electric buses, which I saw at a virtual tour last year when I met with the CEO virtually. And they really impressed me.
Here’s the video:
Hopefully, this statement puts the issue to rest. It was always silly on both sides.
One side, yes, Tesla is by far the most important company in the United States and the world when it comes to accelerating the electric transition. Therefore, it’s dumb not to mention them when talking about the US effort to electrify transport.
However, you know what else is dumb? Politics. And that’s what this has been all about.
Elon Musk is a controversial character, and he opposed the Biden administration’s biggest legislative effort, the Build Back Better act. So, of course, the administration would have issues associating with him. Also, Ford and GM are employing union workers, who are backing Biden’s administration, and Tesla is opposing the additional incentives for EVs coming from union factories.
It’s all about politics. Not sure that Biden mentioning Tesla in a speech will make a big difference, but good for them. They got it done.
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