On Tuesday, President Joe Biden addressed Tesla for the first time in his administration, stating that the firm is the nation’s biggest maker of electric automobiles.
During a speech promoting American firms building the country’s EV infrastructure, Biden mentioned Tesla. It was wedged between mentions of GM and Ford, as well as Rivian Automotive and Proterra, two smaller electric vehicle startups.
So far as president, Biden has avoided discussing Tesla, a choice White House sources believe is motivated by his belief that Tesla is anti-union.
The reference also comes after Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has spent months on Twitter and in press appearances harshly criticizing, if not trolling, the president and other Democratic Party elected figures.
Biden’s pro-union and infrastructure investment proposals, as well as his seeming indifference to Musk, his enterprises, and Tesla’s leadership in electric car production and charging infrastructure, have irritated Musk.
Biden has been referred to as a “damp sock puppet in human form” by the CEO, who has also accused him of being “dominated by unions.”
That remark occurred after the Biden administration presented an electric car incentive package that would provide more funds to customers who bought electric vehicles made by unionized employees.
Musk has also expressed disappointment that Tesla was not invited to the White House to discuss electric cars with other companies like GM and Ford.
Tesla fans went so far as to start a social media and outdoor marketing campaign to persuade the president to give Tesla or Musk a nod.
Along with Tesla and others, Biden congratulated Tritium, a maker of rapid charging technology, for opening a new manufacturing site in Tennessee on Tuesday. He also lauded Intel’s ambitions to construct a huge semiconductor chip facility in Ohio.
“Those semiconductors, those microchips, they fuel almost everything in our daily lives.” Cellphones, autos, refrigerators, the internet, and the electric grid are all examples of modern technology. “Those things can not completely work without semiconductors,” he said.
Increased chip manufacture in the United States, according to Biden, would allow for greater manufacturing and lower inflation.
“One of the reasons autos are so expensive — they are responsible for one-fifth of recent inflation — is because they do not have semiconductors,” Biden said. “Because they can not make them fast enough, the price rises because there are fewer to sell.”
Then, as an example of a corporation that has invested in American manufacturing, Biden mentioned Tesla.
“Since 2021, firms have announced investments in domestic manufacturing in the United States totaling more than $200 billion.” “From legendary firms like GM and Ford expanding their electric car manufacturing to Tesla, our nation’s biggest electric vehicle manufacturer, to inventive newer companies like Rivian, which builds electric trucks, and Proterra, which builds electric buses,” Trump stated.
During the Tuesday engagement, Biden did not speak much about labor unions, which was unusual for him. Tesla’s workforce in the United States is not unionized, unlike GM, Ford, and Proterra. Rivian’s and other EV start-ups’ workforces are currently unorganized.
“Other nations realize what is going on here,” Biden said. They want to purchase American products as well. They are willing to put their money on America and American workers, on those who developed the middle class by earning fair pay and benefits and exercising their freedom to organize.”
Throughout his time as CEO of Tesla, Musk has been a vocal opponent of labor unions.
Tesla was found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act in 2021 by the United States National Labor Relations Board after the company prohibited employees from speaking with the press without authorization and Musk said in a tweet that unionizing would result in employees losing stock options.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2022
Musk seemed irritated and displeased after the president’s address on Tuesday. He used social media to bring the president’s attention to a story on a Tesla fansite, emphasizing that the company was the best-selling battery-electric vehicle maker in the world in 2021.