Finally, Tesla got its presidential nod. Following Tesla CEO Elon Musk's frequent complaints about being ignored, US President Joe Biden publicly acknowledged Tesla's importance in U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing on Tuesday. Biden said:
"From iconic companies like GM and Ford building out new electric vehicle production to Tesla, our nation's largest electric vehicle manufacturer, to innovative younger companies." He went on to add that manufacturing is coming “back to America after decades."
The President wants to grant an additional $4,500 tax credit to union-made, American-built electric vehicles, igniting a battle between automakers lacking U.S. unionized workers on the one hand, and United Auto Workers-affiliated carmakers on the other. Musk was also against government funding for electric vehicle charging station subsidies.
Biden visited with GM CEO Mary Barra last month, and the White House has complimented the Detroit automaker's electric vehicle efforts on several occasions, despite the fact that it sells much fewer EVs than Tesla. After the meeting with Barra, Biden shared a video of the two talking on Twitter, which opened the door for Musk to share a cheeky tweet.
The Technoking quirped, "Starts with a T/Ends with an A/ESL in the middle" and then took it further by compared Biden to a "damp sock puppet."
Prior to that, Musk claimed in September that labor unions appear to be in charge of Biden's EV policy. He also chastised Biden for not being invited to a White House function in August. Musk commented during a panel discussion,
"(They) didn't mention Tesla once and praised GM and Ford for leading the EV revolution. Does that sound maybe a little biased? Not the friendliest administration, seems to be controlled by unions."
When asked in August if the White House declined to invite Musk because Tesla employees are not unionized, White House press secretary Jen Psaki replied, "I'll let you draw your own conclusion." That’s an open-ended answer that would draw a lot of speculation.
But then earlier this week, Psaki was asked about Biden's Tesla namedropping, she said "We all know that Tesla is a major producer of electric vehicles," and added the White House sees "huge opportunity" for the United States from the industry overall.
The signing of the EV Infrastructure Bill - November 2021
About the EV Infrastructure Bill
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill was signed into law by Vice President Joe Biden last year. The bill is projected to benefit the automotive sector in a variety of ways, including improved road conditions, cleaner commercial vehicles, battery factories for electric vehicles, battery recycling, and lithium mining and refining. However, vehicle charging will receive one of the greatest EV budget allocations. Alternative fuel charging has received $7.5 billion in funding, largely for electric vehicle chargers and related infrastructure around the country.
Between 2022 and 2026, the US government will invest directly in the building, maintenance, and operation of about 400,000 new Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC Fast chargers in the US. According to the bill's specifications, chargers must be open-sourced, which means that financing cannot go to Tesla's proprietary Supercharger network unless it is made available to non-Tesla vehicles.
This measure is the nation's first large-scale investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. However, even such a large investment will fall short in the face of the increasing growth of electric vehicles on the road, indicating the need for more help from municipalities, utilities, and private investors to bridge the gap. According to the company, the number of electric vehicles on the road in the United States will climb from 1.5 million in 2020 to around 9.3 million in 2026.
The capacity of electric vehicle batteries is also predicted to steadily rise in the next years. This will allow the average electric vehicle to drive further on a single charge, reducing the need for so much infrastructure. However, ample EV charging is required from the standpoint of customer perception in order to persuade sceptics that a BEV is feasible for them.
According to a survey, 75% of US electric car owners prefer to charge at home, but a successful transition to a national electric vehicle fleet requires a mechanism for those without that capability to charge at public facilities in a convenient manner. However, just 63 percent of US households have access to a garage, and this number is even lower in metropolitan areas, where EV sales account for more than half of all sales.