- Tesla fans are asking President Biden to acknowledge the company’s accomplishments.
- They say Biden has snubbed Tesla while praising GM and Ford for their electric-car efforts.
- Elon Musk has lashed out at Biden for not mentioning Tesla and excluding the firm from events.
Frustrated that the Biden administration has “snubbed Tesla” in public comments and at events promoting electric cars, Tesla’s hordes of loyal fans are speaking up.
A Change.org petition launched on Saturday calling for Biden to acknowledge Tesla’s leadership in electric vehicles racked up more than 38,000 signatures by Tuesday morning. The petition alleges that Biden has unfairly praised Ford and General Motors for their electric accomplishments, while sidelining the Texas-based automaker.
The petitioners say that the White House has ignored Tesla because it is a non-union company, unlike other US automakers.
“The White House and the Biden Administration have intentionally been trying to ignore Tesla’s hard work while propping up GM and others as ‘EV Leaders,'” the petition says. “This is an insult to the Americans who work for Tesla.”
The controversy dates back to August, when Biden invited GM, Ford, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) to the White House lawn to promote EVs. Tesla, by far the largest seller of electric cars in the US, was notably absent.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took notice, tweeting “Yeah, seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited.”
Asked during a press briefing whether Tesla was excluded because its employees are not unionized, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she’ll “let you draw your own conclusion.”
The White House has proposed new tax credits for electric-car purchases that would favor cars built by unionized workers. Biden has also made appearances at GM and Ford factories, and taken test drives in their upcoming electric pickup trucks.
And last week, Biden met with business leaders including the CEOs of Ford and GM but Musk wasn’t in attendance. In response to a White House tweet from the meeting lauding “companies like GM and Ford” for “building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before,” Musk lashed out.
“Biden is a damp sock puppet in human form,” Musk replied, using the sock emoji.
In a statement to Insider, a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity credited Tesla for helping to drive the auto industry toward electrification. The official said that President Biden aims to create union jobs and supports the right for workers to bargain collectively. Musk has expressed anti-union views, and the National Labor Relations Board found last year that Tesla violated labor laws by firing a union supporter.
Tesla is the most significant US producer of electric cars by far. In 2021, it delivered 936,172 vehicles around the globe, nearly doubling its 2020 output. In 2021, Tesla’s Fremont, California factory became the most productive auto plant in North America, according to a Bloomberg analysis.
GM and Ford have ramped up their EV efforts in recent years and are planning a flood of new electric models, but neither can match Tesla’s current production capacity.