DETROIT (AP) – Some of Tesla’s loyal band of devotees and CEO Elon Musk said the White House has been unfairly snubbing America’s top-selling electric vehicle brand in its support for EVs as a way to fight climate change – and they’re making their discontent known.
More than 33,000 people have signed a petition on change.org, asking United States (US) President Joe Biden to acknowledge Tesla’s electric vehicle leadership. The petitioners have accused the president of ignoring Tesla, a non-union company, in favour of the traditional Detroit automakers, which are unionised.
Musk and Tesla’s loyalists have been expressing such complaints since Biden took office last year. But the new petition is their first large-scale public effort to press their argument that the company and its devotion to clean energy vehicles are being overlooked by the government. The president has largely avoided mention of Tesla and often celebrates the notion that “good-paying union jobs” would be created if the US can lead the world in the manufacture of electric vehicles.
“This is an insult to the Americans who work for Tesla,” the Tesla petition said. It calls on Biden “to do the right thing and acknowledge Tesla for its hard work in making EVs a possibility for Americans”.
The president has visited Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co factories, met with their CEOs and praised them for taking a lead in electric vehicle development. In addition, he has driven new battery-powered vehicles from GM, Ford and Stellantis NV (formerly Fiat Chrysler) and displayed them, with some fanfare, on the White House South Lawn.
But last week, when Biden met with a group of CEOs including leaders of Ford and GM, Musk was absent.
The administration’s perceived neglect has irked some in Musk’s huge fan base of over 72 million followers on Twitter, as well as Musk himself.