Tesla’s ardent supporters, including CEO Elon Musk, believe the White House has been unfairly dismissing America’s top-selling electric vehicle manufacturer in its support for EVs as a means of combating climate change, and they’re voicing their displeasure.
More than 33,000 people have signed a change.org petition urging President Joe Biden to recognize Tesla’s leadership in electric vehicles. The petitioners accuse Trump of disregarding Tesla, a non-union firm, in favor of the unionized Detroit manufacturers.
Since Biden took office last year, Musk and Tesla supporters have been voicing their dissatisfaction.
The latest petition, however, is their first large-scale public effort to emphasize their claim that the company and its commitment to clean energy vehicles are being ignored by the government. The president has mostly avoided mentioning Tesla, instead praising the idea of “good-paying union jobs” being created if the US can lead the globe in the production of electric automobiles.
This is an insult to the Americans who work for Tesla. [Biden should] do the right thing and acknowledge Tesla for its hard work in making EVs a possibility for Americans.— Tesla petition
The president has paid visits to the facilities of Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company, where he spoke with their CEOs and commended them for pioneering electric car research. He’s also driven new battery-powered automobiles from General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis NV (formerly Fiat Chrysler) and showcased them on the White House South Lawn with fanfare.
Musk, on the other hand, was not present when Biden met with a group of CEOs last week, which included leaders from Ford and GM.
The administration’s alleged indifference has enraged some of Musk’s 72 million Twitter followers, as well as Musk himself.
“For unknown reasons,” Musk tweeted Sunday, alluding to President Biden, “@potus is unable to say the word ‘Tesla.'”
After Biden tweeted on Thursday that GM, Ford, and others are producing more electric vehicles in the US than ever before, Musk retweeted that “Biden is treating the American public like fools.”
Biden has frequently emphasized the union jobs that he claims will be produced by his stalled “Build Back Better” legislation.
During the 2020 presidential race, he received backing from the United Auto Workers and other labor organizations. Tesla was not asked to join other U.S. automakers in boasting their electric vehicle sales targets at the White House in August.
Tesla is a key part of why the rest of the industry is moving forward on electric vehicles, according to a White House official who requested anonymity to discuss the administration’s thoughts on Monday. However, when it comes to unions, the official stated that Biden supports worker collective bargaining.
Biden and congressional Democrats have advocated for tax rebates to give unionized automakers an advantage in EV sales. A proposed $7,500 tax credit for people who purchase electric vehicles through 2026 was included in the “Build Back Better” package.
Only purchases of electric vehicles made in the US would be eligible for the credit the following year. For a car manufactured in the US under a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement, the base credit would increase by $4,500.
It’s unclear how much Tesla’s non-unionized facilities in California, Texas, and Nevada pay its production workers. After working for more than six years in California, one employee who begged not to be identified for fear of reprisal from the employer said he makes $24 an hour.
In comparison, after four years or less, full-time production employees represented by the UAW earn around $32 an hour. Profit-sharing and other bonuses are also available to them.
Tesla sold 936,000 new fully electric automobiles worldwide last year. It does not separate sales in the US. However, according to Motorintelligence.com, those sales totaled just over 352,000. Ford came in second with 27,000 cars, followed by GM with little under 25,000.
In the following years, Ford, GM, and other automakers will release a slew of new electric cars, including battery-powered versions of popular full-size pickup trucks.