The Biden Administration didn’t invite Tesla to the White House for an event pushing for half of new cars to use electric charging by 2030 because it doesn’t have a unionized workforce.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the snub Wednesday night on Twitter, prompting questions about why the electric car pioneer wasn’t invited.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday at her daily press briefing that “today it’s the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers and the UAW president who will stand with President Biden as he announces his ambitious new target.”
When a reporter asked Psaki to confirm the snub was the result of Tesla being a non-union shop, she said, “these are the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.”
Biden will sign a non-binding executive order Thursday afternoon that encourages the transition to electric and hybrid cars and the “Big Three” domestic carmakers will signal their voluntary adherence to the idea, a senior administration official said.
Psaki was pressed on the sincerity of the Big Three by a reporter who noted that they successfully persuaded the Trump administration to block Obama-era fuel efficiency standards due to the increased cost of manufacturing.
“They’re standing with the president today while he’s making this announcement. That is certainly significant,” Psaki said. “And we’ve also seen a lot of these industries move in the direction of electric vehicles.”
Biden is also announcing that federal agencies will propose new rules for fuel efficiency standards for new cars that use petroleum.
Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, wrote on Twitter that it “seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited” to the electric vehicle event.
The reason for Tesla’s exclusion was not immediately clear and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a CNBC interview that “I’m not sure” why the company was snubbed.
The leaders of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the corporate entity that owns Chrysler, were invited to the White House for the event.
The cost of electric vehicles tends to be higher, though Biden has argued that the US can use the might of federal tax credits and purchasing power to make environmentally friendly options more competitive. Conservative officials have called for the free market to dictate the future of cars.