As the United States government continues its monumental push of domestic automakers to transition to electrification, President Joe Biden and fellow White House staff have invited companies like Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis to Washington to discuss what steps can be taken at the federal level to reach lofty EV delivery goals. However, perhaps the Biden Administration’s biggest ally, Tesla, wasn’t there because it was not extended an invitation. While CEO Elon Musk called the no-invite “odd,” there are potentially some bright spots in the situation, although the question of whether they outweigh the negatives is up to the reader to decide.
White House Electrification Event for U.S. Automakers
A relatively groundbreaking announcement that comes on the heels of President Biden’s request for legacy automakers to commit to a 40% electrified fleet by 2030, the companies agreed to a loftier but more satisfying figure of 50%. Now that half of all legacy automaker vehicles sold in 2030 will be electric, the big question is, how will it work? How will this plan be carried out?
Effectively, a game plan is likely being discussed among the White House staff and the leaders of the automakers who were invited to the event. With each company outlining specific goals through various announcements over the past several years, it is now time for action. The talking is done, a plan needs to be laid out and completed. The thing about electrification is that it is vastly different from building an ICE car, which each of these companies has long, storied, and successful histories of doing. Building an electric vehicle is a completely different project, and it goes much further than putting some electric motors and batteries in a pack and calling it an EV. There needs to be efficient and effective software, the batteries need to have a specific cell chemistry to operate for a long time, charging infrastructures need to be established, along with many other factors.
The overall issue that many of these companies have when transitioning to electrification is finding out how to make EVs operational. Far too many times, we have heard about incredible EVs that will come to the market in a few years, they are going to be amazing and effective, and they will show Tesla who is boss. But every time this has happened, these cars fall short of their mark.
The Cons: Why Tesla should be at the White House, no questions asked
Tesla has the experience to help these automakers navigate through extremely difficult times, which are likely to come based on many of these companies’ current situations with developing electric powertrains. Creating one or two vehicles and selling between thirty and fifty thousand of them definitely helps the cause. However, keeping these delivery rates and simply putting a few new bells and whistles in the interior doesn’t make it a new car. Consumers want new technology, new looks, new aesthetics. This means cars with more range, more features, and sleeker, more modern designs.
The goal should be for these automakers to develop a plan by 2030, about eight and a half years, to have four to five different electrified models on the road by that year. Rolling out that many new models while simultaneously engineering and building effective electric powertrains is extremely difficult. Many companies may find that the road to this goal is not necessarily as simple as they thought.
Ask Tesla about it.
However, Tesla overcame all odds by delivering four electric models in just eight years: the Model S in 2012, the Model X in 2015, the Model 3 in 2017, and the Model Y in 2020.
Ideally, Tesla would be the biggest advantage for all of these companies from a consultant standpoint. If Tesla’s goal really is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, it would have no issue helping car companies figure out where their shortcomings are. No technological advantages would need to be shared. Still, a roadmap of how Tesla navigated through the toughest portion of its existence by releasing popular, profitable, and effective EVs would undoubtedly help. Not to mention, these companies are much more financially stable than Tesla was while it was ramping up its production of vehicles. That would only help the cause as money really isn’t an issue.
Another negative comes from a perceptive standpoint, but it can’t be a good look for the Biden administration to go through with this event without having the industry leader there. It would be like having a tech event without Apple, an Olympic highlight reel without Phelps, a chef’s get-together without Gordon Ramsay. It just doesn’t make sense, and on top of it, it doesn’t necessarily show that the country’s leaders support Tesla’s efforts. After all, Joe Biden hasn’t uttered the word “Tesla” since he’s taken office.
The Pros: Why it might not be so bad after all
If the purpose of this event is to get automakers on board with electrification, then Tesla really would have no business being there. After all, the companies invited have pledged to have half of their vehicle deliveries be electric in 2030. Tesla already delivers only electric vehicles, and it has since day 1. Some could see it as the Straight A student going to tutoring; it’s really kind of pointless.
Additionally, it might be a good look for Tesla not to go to the event from a political standpoint. Currently, 52% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance. This is according to Rasmussen, which updates the poll daily.
Tesla also does not need any assistance federally, and it does not need any entity to tell it how to handle its business. This is something that Tesla should take pride in. The hard-working giants who have ruled the automotive industry for a century need guidance on continuing to move forward.
For Tesla, the answers came through its own hard work and its own want to change the world for the better.