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GM CEO shares bold response to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s EV credit stance

GM CEO Mary Barra speaking at the company's EV Day on March 4, 2020. Credit: Tesla Daily Podcast

On the eve of her eight-year anniversary as General Motors’ CEO, Mary Barra addressed a group of reporters in an Automotive Press Association event at the Gem Theater in Detroit. The event saw Barra discuss several topics, from Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s argument that the Biden administration’s EV tax credit should be axed to GM’s supposed lead in the electric vehicle sector. 

During Elon Musk’s recent appearance at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, the Tesla CEO argued that the Biden administration’s EV initiatives — which could lower an electric or electrified vehicle’s price by as much as $12,500 if they are built in a union factory — should be deleted. Musk noted that he is in favor of deleting all subsides, especially for fossil fuels, which receive $11 million worth of subsidies per minute, or $5.9 trillion per year

When asked about her opinion on Musk’s statements, Barra noted that she would not get into an argument about the Tesla CEO’s point, as noted in a Detroit Free Press report. “I’m not going to get into a match on that type of stuff because I actually mean what I say and say what I mean. When I say something, I really mean it, and I’m an engineer, so I am going to execute it,” Barra said. She did, however, admit that the Biden administration’s planned EV incentive would indeed help GM reach a wider consumer base. 

“It’s one thing if you’re selling luxury vehicles to a slice of the public. It’s another thing when you’re providing EVs to someone who buys a $30,000 Equinox because that’s the most that they can afford. It’s their only vehicle. If they don’t get to work, it impacts their livelihood. Do those individuals need that support to make the transition? I think it’s reasonable if you’re trying to accelerate something,” Barra added. 

Overall, the executive stated that she is confident GM could lead in the electric vehicle sector since it is ahead of its competitors. “Everything everyone is announcing they’re doing now, we started doing three years ago. We’re not talking about doing a dedicated EV platform. We have one and we have one that can go from a super truck like the Hummer to the Lyriq and what you’ll see us announce at CES,” she said, referring to the Chevy Silverado Electric, which will is expected to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show this coming January. 

“We saw this early and we invested in it. What distinguishes us … for an OEM of scale, (is) we’re first, full stop,” Barra added. 

That being said, the CEO did admit that GM must do a better job informing people about why it will lead the electric vehicle transition. Amidst the rise of newer companies that are focused only on pure electric vehicles, after all, veteran carmakers like GM tend to get looked at with a different lens. “When you’re a company that’s been around for a while, there’s a different scale you’re measured on in terms of do it versus say you’re going to do it. So we’ll just keep doing it,” she said. 

*Quotes courtesy of the Detroit Free Press.

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GM CEO shares bold response to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s EV credit stance
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