U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg On Why Tesla Was Excluded From White House EV Event

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Yesterday I wrote an article questioning whether or not President Biden would exclude Tesla from today’s EV event at the White House. Elon Musk replied to that article confirming that not only was Tesla not invited, but that he agreed that it was odd. CNBC followed up on our tweet and Elon’s response by questioning the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg about it (if only Secretary Buttigieg knew that we’d happily interview him about this and he could sharpen his answer). Personally, I think his response was a bit disappointing — if not fake. Again, this is my opinion and I will explain why in a moment. Feel free to watch the response and come up with your own.

In fact, Secretary Buttigieg seems to hint that Tesla was excluded from the event due to its reputation as a luxury car company. This shows that not even the U.S. Transportation Secretary understands what Tesla is, its mission, and Elon’s Tesla Master Plan and Tesla Master Plan, Part Deux.

In the video interview, Secretary Buttigieg tried to deflect from the initial question multiple times. He also seemed to dismiss Tesla as a luxury company, saying that this wasn’t a “luxury thing.” Never mind Tesla’s hard work at creating a market for its EV competitors to compete in and having the most mass-market EVs in the world.

Never mind the fact that Tesla outsells its competitors in the aforementioned market and has the largest market cap in the entire global auto industry. Never mind that Tesla is the first American automaker to successfully bring EVs to a wide market. Never mind all of that, I guess.

When asked why Tesla was absent from the event, Buttigieg said:

“I’m not sure, but what I know is you’re seeing so many leaders in industry. You’ve got newer companies and you’ve got legacy companies that are both saying we’ve gotta move in this direction. The industry structure obviously is complex, and partly what’s exciting is to see some of the oldest and more traditional names in U.S. auto manufacturers and some of the newest companies on the scene all acting in terms of the very core of their business to go electric.”

When redirected back to the original question and asked if he saw Elon’s tweet response to my article, Buttigieg said:

“No, I haven’t seen that, but, look, we’re excited about all of the momentum for making sure that Americans can drive electric vehicles going into the future. And by the way, we’re also moving toward the future where this is all across the market. I don’t want there to be a perception that this is just a kind of luxury thing. Or that this is just for cars that you use to zip around cities.

“We’re talking about everything from the kinds of cars that you’ve seen on the market already, pickup trucks getting more and more attention — this is really the future, we believe, for the entirety of the American light-duty vehicle market.”

(Editor’s note: First of all, we’re offended that Secretary Pete doesn’t check CleanTechnica a few times a day. Secondly, if he needs some help rolling out more effective EV policies and PR strategies, I’d be happy to step in. Just give me a call. —Zach)

My Thoughts

Y’all already know I have some thoughts to share. First and foremost, if President Biden and his administration truly wanted to see EV sales rise, they would consider a federal law allowing companies such as Tesla, Rivian, and Bollinger to sell directly to their customers in every state.

What I find blatantly disgusting is the way Buttigieg praised legacy automakers for following Tesla’s lead and how he described Tesla’s vehicles in a way that seemed to throw shade at them. This part:

“We’re talking about everything from the kinds of cars that you’ve seen on the market already. Pickup trucks getting more and more attention.”

Aside from Rivian, no other automaker was interested in making an electric truck until Tesla debuted the Cybertruck in 2019 — that I am aware of. I could be wrong on this, and if so, my apologies. The issue is that Tesla has to lead this market and then we have the government finally acknowledging the need for EVs, but suddenly Tesla’s hard work doesn’t count because it’s a “luxury thing.”

Does he not know how affordable Teslas have become in the last couple of years — at least here in the U.S.? We have published numerous total cost of ownership articles showing that the Model 3 competes with mass-market cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and even Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Lower maintenance and “fuel” costs help a lot, and a higher resale value does as well — something that comes from Tesla vehicles being so competitive.

Claiming that he didn’t know why Tesla was excluded and then rambling about “luxury things” makes me think that he not only knew why Tesla was excluded but that he seems to feel that Tesla’s reputation as a luxury car company is the reason why. Not many people seem to understand Elon Musk’s master plans for Tesla, and if they do, then they pretend not to in order to push a certain narrative. It’s not helpful for advancing EVs.

Tesla isn’t just an American company — it’s the leader of the EV revolution. However, the American government doesn’t seem to appreciate Tesla, and that’s really sad.

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider