Tesla Wasn't Invited to White House EV Event
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On August 5th, the White House held an event celebrating electric vehicles (EVs) and automakers’ expansion of EV programs. The top car companies were in attendance except for one conspicuous absence.
Tesla head Elon Musk says that his company wasn’t invited. Here’s everything that you need to know about the event.
What was the White House event?
The White House hosted an EV Event, from which Tesla was notably missing.
According to AutoWeek, the Biden administration, as part of the president’s “Build Back Better” initiative, hosted the event to discuss its plans for environmentally-responsible vehicles to comprise at least half of all vehicle sales by 2030.
AutoWeek confirms that President Biden even tested out an EV himself, taking a plug-in hybrid electric Jeep Wrangler for a spin around the White House grounds.
Which automakers were in attendance at the EV event?
Top automakers like Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (an umbrella organization with 14 brands including Ram, Dodge, and Jeep, among others) were part of the event.
All of these companies traditionally make vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, and are shifting their offerings to include EVs. If the event was about encouraging this practice, it could be that the White house deemed Tesla’s inclusion to be unnecessary, since it is a dedicated EV producer.
Tesla is one of the biggest EV producers
On the other hand, It is curious that Tesla would not be invited to participate in such an event just because they only make EVs.
To some extent, Tesla can be credited with legitimizing the EV industry, as other automakers follow their lead in the hopes of enjoying similar market success.
In fact, Mark Fields, former CEO of Ford, praised Elon Musk for propelling the industry “toward taking EVs seriously,” according to CNBC.
Perhaps they should have been recognized for this success with an invite?
One possible explanation for the Tesla snub
It’s possible that involvement (or lack of involvement) with the United Auto Workers (UAW) could be tied to Tesla’s absence.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, quoted in AutoWeek, reported that Ford, GM, and Stellantis are the top employers of the UAW. She went on to advise the press to “draw [their] own conclusions,” given that fact.
Not only does Tesla not have UAW representation, Elon Musk has a tumultuous reputation for making offensive comments regarding unions.
Tesla violated labor laws surrounding the firing of an employee who was a union activist, CNBC reported earlier this year.
Musk was subsequently ordered to delete an anti-union tweet and offer a job to the former employee, among other reinstatements.
With Musk’s reputation and stance on unionization for Tesla, the Biden administration could have made the intentional decision to exclude the company from the event.
President Biden has a long history of supporting unions, the Los Angeles Times mentions. In fact, Biden is arguably the most pro-labor president in years, supporting unions across the board, including the UAW.