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Tempestuous Trump Tirade Targets Tesla, Et Al

Trump went down to Georgia, looking for some votes to steal. He was in a bind cuz he was way behind and he was looking to make a deal.

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What a country! Donald Trump, a twice impeached former president who owns luxury resorts all around the world and loves to tell anyone who will listen (except the taxman) how wealthy he is, gets indicted for violating the Espionage Act and immediately goes on social media to beg people to send him money to pay his lawyers. And they do it!

Now enfant terrible Trump has used his first post-indictment public appearance to tell people in Georgia how awful electric cars are and how when he gets re-elected, part of his Revenge Tour will include cancelling all those horrible federal incentives for people who buy electric cars and the companies who manufacture them.

Trump Responds To Musk

What brought on this spate of ill temper? Apparently his bile filled rant is in response to Elon Musk who suggested recently on social media that “It’s time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset.” And who put a bee in Elon’s bonnet? Why, The Donald himself, who recently referred to Musk as “another bullshit artist” after Musk had the audacity to express support for Florida’s answer to Vlad The Impaler, Ron DeSantis.

That rascal has made a name for himself by arresting Black Floridians for the crime of voting after being told by election officials they were eligible to do so, requiring school teachers in the Sunshine State to fill out detailed questionnaires regarding their social and political beliefs, and using Florida taxpayer dollars to scoop up immigrants in other states and ferry them by bus or plane to Democratic states.

Musk applauds DeSantis for stunts like that, calling him a “moderate,” which may be true if by moderate you mean someone like P. W. Botha, the staunch defender of apartheid in Musk’s native country of South Africa. Compared to Botha, Ronald Reagan was a flaming liberal.

Trump used his appearance at the Georgia Republican convention to pour scorn on electric cars. Whether that was wise or not is a matter of debate. Georgia, more than any other state in the Union, is reaping a bonanza of federal dollars to help build EV manufacturing plants in the state along with the batteries needed to power them.

Trump Rants In Georgia

As my colleague Tina Casey reported recently, Georgia is in an odd position. On one hand, it is one of 23 US states that are ranting about banks and investment funds that make ESG considerations part of their business decisions. On the other hand, Georgia has become a key state in the Biden administration’s efforts to step up the pace of decarbonizing Americas’s economy.

The latest cleantech investment to hit the Peach State is a new $4.3 billion joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and the electric vehicle battery maker LG Energy Solution. That factory will support the manufacture of electric vehicles at the Hyundai Metaplant America, which is already under construction near Savannah.

“Starting construction in the second half of 2023, the joint venture plans to start battery production at the end of 2025 at the earliest,” Hyundai affirmed in a press release. “Hyundai Mobis will assemble battery packs using cells from the plant, then supply them to the Group’s US manufacturing facilities for production of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis EV models. That factory is expected to cost at least $4 billion and add 3,500 jobs to Georgia’s economy.

Last November, Georgia governor Brian Kemp announced more jobs are coming to the state. Hyundai Mobis is going to invest $926 million in an EV Power Electric system plant in Bryan County that is expected to employ at least 1,500 people. This investment by Hyundai will expand its current operations which currently employ almost 1,200 people.

“When we celebrated the groundbreaking of Hyundai’s new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Bryan County, we knew it would unleash transformational job creation and investment in that entire region of our state,” said Kemp. “As we announce the second supplier in just two weeks to locate in that area, we’re excited to see their impact on the surrounding communities and the growing list of other job creators that will soon follow.”

According to the Atlanta Business Journal, Georgia has seen cleantech investments of more than $15 billion since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last August — more than any other state in the country. And make no mistake, Georgia is kicking in some incentive money of its own to lure these investments and supporting new businesses with job training programs that will supply these companies with the skilled workers they will need. So, why are Georgians cheering Trump when he says he will take food off their table? Good question.

Same Old, Same Old From Trump

Trump’s attack on electric vehicles is not new. Last September he told a crowd of maniacal supporters in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, that investing in clean transportation was foolish. Why? Because some anonymous acquaintance of his went on a road trip from Kentucky to Washington, DC, in an electric car and couldn’t find a way to charge it.

According to Trump, this person said he spent more time charging the car than driving it. That could well be true if he was driving a 2015 Nissan LEAF without the fast charging option, but if he was driving a Tesla, his navigation screen would have indicated exactly where he needed to stop and how long he would need to charge in order to reach his destination.

But because one person told him something ridiculous over truffles at Mar-A-Lago, Trump the Tempestuous would eviscerate the billions of dollars in incentives that are boosting EV sales nationally and putting tens of thousands of Americans to work building electric cars, batteries, and chargers nationwide. Many of those jobs are in Rust Belt states, the very places where Trump supporters are frequently found. Because one person supposedly had a bad charging experience, Tyrannosaurus Trump says nobody should  buy electric cars and America should stop supporting the EV revolution.

The Takeaway

Ordinarily, people of common intelligence would hear such codswallop and immediately dismiss it as the ravings of a lunatic. But in America today, where school board meetings have become battlegrounds during which fist fights frequently break out because some parents feel uncomfortable about what their children are taught in school, the ravings of this lunatic could lead to a backlash against those who choose to drive an electric car.

These reactionaries always rage about freedom, but what they mean is they feel entitled to tell others what to say, think, and believe. That’s not freedom; that’s tyranny. It would be tragic if EVs got caught up in the culture wars that are already overwhelming American society.

Featured image courtesy of DonkeyHotey (CC BY-SA)

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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