Elon Musk’s feud with Biden administration escalates


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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla

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The battle with the Biden administration escalated after CEO Elon Musk called President Joe Biden a “puppet” for United Auto Workers in a tweet Sunday.

Musk was responding to a tweet outlining the tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles proposed in the President’s infrastructure bill. The bill includes an additional $ 4,500 for electric vehicles assembled by unionized workers.

Purchase tax credits reduce the cost of an EV by providing the buyer with a tax deduction. Currently, Tesla vehicles are no longer eligible for federal tax credits.

Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., Is not unionized, so the proposal could result in electric vehicles from other automakers, including

Ford engine

(F) and

General Motors

(GM) —a price advantage depending on where the vehicles are assembled.

Tesla (ticker: TSLA) and the White House were not immediately available for comment on Sunday night.

The issues between Tesla and the Biden administration began when the president did not invite Tesla, America’s largest producer of electric vehicles, to the White House when he announced his electric vehicle goals in early August. Biden wants 50% of cars sold in the United States to be fully electric by 2030. GM, Ford and the UAW attended the ceremony.

Musk called the move odd in a tweet. He tweeted in late September that Biden was “still asleep” after the president did not call to praise SpaceX and its civilian astronaut mission, which raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. .

After that, also in September, at the Code technology conference in California, Musk suggested that the Biden administration was biased against Tesla, adding that the administration “appears to be controlled by the unions.”

Musk also has an issue with an appointment from Biden to the National Highway Transport Safety Administration. Missy Cummings, a Duke University professor who will be a safety advisor to NHTSA, has questioned Tesla’s autonomous driving software on several occasions in the recent past. She is concerned that Tesla’s autonomous driving features may be misused by drivers. Musk called Cummings “extremely biased” in a tweet.

Tesla and Cummings did not respond to requests for comment at the time of Musk’s comment on Twitter.

All of this only matters to investors if it impacts Tesla’s bottom line. The $ 4,500 tax credit could matter, even though the bill has yet to be passed. And the NHTSA has yet to make recommendations on how Tesla implements and tests its autonomous driving features. All car manufacturers offer driver assistance features designed to improve safety and convenience.

The spat has yet to harm Tesla’s stock. Tesla shares rose more than 40% in October, while the

S&P 500

increased by 7%. Strong deliveries and earnings and new fleet business helped push Tesla’s market capitalization north of $ 1 trillion for the first time in October.

Write to Al Root at [email protected]

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