Detroit automakers received White House summit invites. Not Tesla.
The Tesla Model S was a revolutionary car when it debuted in 2012. Unlike previous electric vehicles, the Model S proved that pure battery technology was possible to power vehicles. Range anxiety was no longer an issue - assuming access to a sufficient charging network was available. Since then, established automakers have come to the realization that EVs are the future. Combustion engines are on their way out, though it's still too early to know exactly when they'll be gone for good.
Tesla, especially CEO Elon Musk, views itself as the catalyst that played a major role in bringing about this change and it wants due credit. US President Joe Biden's administration has proven to be very EV friendly and has adapted policies accordingly.
However, Musk firmly believes this policy is controlled by labor unions and isn't friendly to non-union automakers, like Tesla. Musk let his feelings be known during a recent panel discussion held a few weeks ago at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California.
Via Reuters, Musk told his audience the White House's August EV summit "didn't mention Tesla once and praised GM and Ford for leading the EV revolution. Does that sound maybe a little biased?" And then he added this pointed remark: "Not the friendliest administration, seems to be controlled by unions."
So far, the White House has yet to comment.
That August summit was a big deal because Biden signed an executive order for 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be fully electric. New tax credits will also be introduced. The CEOs of GM, Ford, and Stellantis were all on hand. All three Detroit automakers' factory workers are unionized. The United Auto Workers (UAW), meanwhile, is having nothing of Musk's complaints. Its vice president, Cindy Estrada, responded to Musk in a tweet with this politically charged sentence: "Good leaders aren't afraid of smart workers but embrace them!"
Tesla isn't the only major automaker whose workers are not unionized. Asian-based carmakers like Toyota and Honda, both of whom have major production operations in the US, also have employees not represented by the UAW. Workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga factory narrowly rejected an effort by the UAW to organize the plant in 2019.