Transportation Secretary Buttigieg doesn't know why Tesla wasn't invited to White House EV Summit

Tesla Motors and other famed EV producers are notably absent from the guest list at Thursday's White House EV Summit.


Later today, President Joe Biden will be hosting an event to promote a new executive order that will push for further adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States. The President and staff will be flanked by representation from General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis for the event. Conspicuously absent from the festivities is representation from other automakers, including Tesla Motors. When asked about the omission of Tesla this morning during an appearance on CNBC, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg simply responded, “I’m not sure.”

The executive order that Joe Biden will sign is not a mandate but will encourage automakers selling vehicles in the United States to push for a larger share of EVs. The goal of the initiative will be for half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 to be either full EV or plug-in-hybrid types. 

“The order doesn’t function as a mandate, but it does create the conditions for us to meet that goal,” Buttigieg explained to CNBC. “We have got to act, the transportation sector is the biggest part of our economy emitting greenhouse gases, and cars and trucks are one of the biggest parts of that.”

The White House is pushing for 50% of all cars sold by 2030 to be electric vehicles.
The White House is pushing for 50% of all cars sold by 2030 to be electric vehicles.

It would seem odd that representation from Tesla Motors, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, and other automakers who have pushed hard into EV adoption were not on-hand for the EV Summit, but the heavy presence of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is most likely to blame. The three automakers who will be present at the White House event build their vehicles using UAW labor while others like Tesla and Volkswagon have pushed back against unionization efforts in the past.

The Biden White House has been very pro-union during its early months, which would explain the participation at today’s summit. The older automakers who did get invites could also use the biggest kick in the pants when it comes to EV adoption and they will likely need to cooperate with the UAW to meet the President’s new goals for EV proliferation. 

While Tesla head honcho Elon Musk probably knew why he wasn’t scheduled to appear at the summit, it didn’t stop him from posting one of his famous pot-stirring Tweets. Tesla Motors will have no issues clearing the bar for Biden’s new executive order as one of the world’s premier producers of all-electric vehicles.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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