Tesla CEO Elon Musk has shared a brutally honest take on the US Democrats’ revised EV tax credit proposal, which happens to be heavily pro-union. Musk did not hold back on his criticism, stating that the revisions were likely written by lobbyists who do not have American taxpayers’ best interests at heart. In a way, Musk’s critique is quite valid, considering that Tesla’s two best-selling cars are also recognized as two of the most American-made vehicles in the country today.
This past Friday, US Democrats took the wraps off their proposal for a revised EV credit system, which is part of a proposed $3.5 trillion social spending bill. Unlike the previous proposal — which aims to uncap the $7,500 tax credit, grants an additional $2,500 incentive for cars produced in a union factory, and gives another $2,500 for EVs built in the United States — the revised proposal practically penalizes EV makers that do not employ a unionized workforce.
Under the revised proposal, the $7,500 tax credit would still be uncapped for automakers. However, the legislation also proposes a whopping $4,500 incentive for vehicles that are assembled in a union factory. The proposal aims to award a rather conservative $500 to vehicles that are equipped with a battery manufactured in the United States as well. The revised proposal would apply to sedans priced below $55,000, SUVs priced under $69,000, and trucks that cost $74,000 and below.
Under the revised proposal, Tesla’s electric vehicles would miss out on $4,500 worth of incentives simply because Fremont’s workers have opted to not unionize. The stance of Tesla’s workers at Fremont is not that surprising either, considering that the facility, back when it was being operated as a Toyota-GM join venture called NUMMI, was closed under the watch of the United Autoworkers Union (UAW). The closure of the plant was not received well by NUMMI workers, with some employees publicly clashing with UAW officials during discussions.
It’s not just Elon Musk who has spoken out against the Democrats’ heavily pro-union EV tax credit proposal. Honda and Toyota, both of whom do not employ a unionized workforce in the United States, sharply criticized the Democrats’ revisions. Honda noted that the bill was “unfair” and that it “discriminates among EVs made by hard-working American auto workers based simply on whether they belong to a union.” Toyota, for its part, noted in a statement that the plan discriminates “against American autoworkers based on their choice not to unionize.”
Ironically, Tesla currently produces two of the most American-made vehicles in the country being sold today. This was proven by the results of the 2021 American-made Index from Cars.com, which revealed that the Tesla Model 3 is the most American car in the country, bar none. The Tesla Model Y stands at third place, just a couple of spots below its sedan sibling. “Just one major automaker, Tesla, can claim domestic production for all the cars it sells here,” Cars.com noted.
The Democrats’ proposed revisions to the EV tax credit could be viewed below.
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