Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.
President Biden seems to be all about electrifying America and pushing for EV adoption, but there are some people who feel seriously left out: our dear Elon Musk and… his mom.
Last Wednesday, the president attended GM’s Factory Zero grand opening in Michigan and even had some fun behind the wheel of a 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup.
During his speech, Biden praised GM CEO Mary Barra for driving the country’s electric future:
You electrified the entire automobile industry. You led — and it matters — in drastically improving the climate by reducing hundreds of millions of barrels of oil that will not be used when we’re all electric.
You can watch his speech on the video below.
The thing is, Biden’s comments are a bit of an exaggeration. I mean, GM has pledged to have an all-electric vehicle line-up by 2035, but for now its sales mostly derive from conventional gas-guzzlers.
Meanwhile, it’s another solely electric automaker that accounts for nearly 80% of the EV market in the US: Tesla.
And as you might have guessed, Elon Musk doesn’t really like it when his company’s success is snubbed. Nor does his mom, Maye Musk.
“Biden’s speech was written 20 years ago, just before GM killed the electric car,” tweeted May. “His speechwriter uploaded the wrong file.”
?? Biden’s speech was written 20 years ago, just before GM killed the electric car. His speechwriter uploaded the wrong file?? https://t.co/3zT0y2RwvA
— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) November 18, 2021
I, for one, had forgotten about GM’s first and failed attempt to go EV, but Musk’s mom sure didn’t.
Back in 2003, General Motors cancelled its EV1 program, stating that it couldn’t sell enough units to make the EV1 profitable. And this reminder was admittedly a well-delivered blow.
And guess what? Musk’s sister, Tosca Musk, also commented on her mom’s tweet, “What mom said. AF.”
???? what mom said. AF. #prouddaughter https://t.co/PMq8C3TMB1
— Tosca Musk (@ToscaMusk) November 18, 2021
Maye Musk’s snarky remarks targeted Vice President Kamala Harris as well.
With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re going to build electric vehicles—and the batteries and parts that go in them—in the United States, instead of relying on other countries.
The future will be made in America.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 20, 2021
Now @VP is ignoring @Tesla Should we keep her updated? https://t.co/pdQK0Ofhfv
— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) November 21, 2021
And to make sure that the Biden administration becomes aware of the fact that Tesla has already filled the gap of a well-established American EV company, Ms Musk retweeted a video showcasing… Teslas.
This @Tesla video is amazing! Let me share it with @JoeBiden @POTUS @KamalaHarris @VP @PeteButtigieg @SecretaryPete Now they can’t say they don’t know about this American #EV company. https://t.co/wR0Yp76WDJ
— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) November 21, 2021
If this isn’t an outraged mother who’s calling out that her child has been wronged, I don’t know who is. Seriously, she reminds me of a lioness protecting her cubs.
The human cub in question, Elon, naturally rushed to comment on the situation with his usual playful manner, which nevertheless asserts Tesla’s superiority.
Let’s see if we can get them to say the word “Tesla”!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2021
Although I’m not a fan of Elon Musk, I can’t really blame him this time. And it feels that Biden’s EV promotion has actually ignored Tesla on purpose.
Not the first time Tesla’s snubbed
At the White House EV summit in August, automakers, the United Autoworkers (UAW), and other leaders officially expressed their support for the Biden administration’s plans for pushing EVs to reach 50% of nationwide sales by 2030.
Guess who wasn’t invited: Tesla.
Will The White House Exclude Tesla, The Most American Made EV, From Its EV Event? https://t.co/loRazecbsp
— CleanTechnica (@cleantechnica) August 5, 2021
Why is Tesla being left out?
When asked about why the automaker was excluded from the summit, White House Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN that it has to do with the fact that the company isn’t unionized.
And that’s a pretty valid reason. Especially since Biden has been seriously pushing for the unionization of the automotive industry. A new bill, introduced in August, suggests that consumers can claim an added $4,500 for vehicles assembled at a domestic unionized plant.
Tesla is highly unlikely to adhere to that. Let’s not forget Musk’s anti-union battle with the UAW regarding the company’s factory in California.
But besides that, there may be a couple more reasons why Biden’s administration is ignoring Tesla in a more targeted way.
- During the initial COVID lockdown, Tesla was the only automaker that opened its California factory ahead of the agreed-upon May 18 date to which other manufacturers had adhered.
- While Elon Musk has dismissed the idea of hydrogen cars as “mind-bogglingly stupid,” the bipartisan infrastructure bill is also targeting fuel cell technology to enhance decarbonization.
Whichever the reason might be behind Tesla’s exclusion from the electric vehicle promotion, there are at least two conclusions we can make: Biden doesn’t really like Tesla, and the Musk family is together fighting the EV war.
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