Elon Musk vs Joe Biden? The curious case of brushing cold shoulders

  • Elon Musk and Joe Biden are no fans of each other. And yet, the EV game in the US needs both of them to emerge as key players.
Is US President Joe Biden (L) guilty of ignoring Elon Musk-led Tesla in US push for EVs?
Is US President Joe Biden (L) guilty of ignoring Elon Musk-led Tesla in US push for EVs?

Elon Musk and Joe Biden aren't best friends. They aren't supposed to be either, many would say. But for the world's wealthiest person and one of the most powerful politicians to be rather lukewarm towards each other may also be rather out of the ordinary. But that's just how it is between the Tesla CEO and the US President.

Musk was a very vocal admirer of former US President Donald Trump whose indirect intervention eventually allowed him to reopen the Tesla plant in California during pandemic times. But since the time the Republicans lost out in a bitterly-fought race to the White House, relations between Musk and the new President have been grey. Biden has failed to acknowledge Musk on many occasions when referring to EVs or electric vehicles. He even credited GM CEO Mary Barra for ‘electrifying the entire auto industry’ even though GM sells only a fraction of EVs that Tesla sells. Musk was also absent from the list of attendees at Biden's Electrification Summit.

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Many believe that since Tesla doesn't allow unions, Biden doesn't quite have the intentions of warming up to it. The US President, after all, is a big advocate of unions and even tried to pass an extra $4,500 credit for EVs built in unionised factories. Tried but failed. But what hasn't failed is Biden steering clear of Musk.

Musk was recently in Washington where he met with several high-ranking officials from the Biden administration. US media reports that a wide-ranging topics pertaining to electrification and electric mobility were discussed. Specifics, however, were kept under wraps. It is also reported that Musk didn't meet Biden himself. Or vice-versa.

For someone who openly admits his love for cars - he was even seen behind the wheels of a Cadillac Lyriq at the Detroit Auto Show and then driving a Hummer EV and then an Ford F100 truck, Biden has not been at the Tesla plant or behind the wheels of a Tesla. Not yet anyway. But in recent times, he has acknowledged Tesla as the country's biggest EV maker. Are the cold shoulders warming up?

First Published Date: 30 Jan 2023, 18:02 PM IST
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