It finally happened: president Biden has pronounced the word "Tesla" publicly for the first time, acknowledging the company as America's "largest electric vehicle manufacturer."
The president made the remarks in a February 8 speech titled "President Biden Delivers Remarks on Rebuilding Our Manufacturing to Make More in America," as per The White House’s official YouTube channel.
The speech was delivered after Tritium's announcement that it would build a new DC fast charger manufacturing facility in Lebanon, Tennessee, creating over 500 jobs over the next five years to produce more than 10,000 DC fast charging units annually.
"Since 2021, companies have announced investments totaling more than $200 billion in domestic manufacturing here in America, from iconic companies like GM and Ford building out new electric vehicle production; to Tesla, our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer; to innovative younger companies like Rivian, building electric trucks, or Proterra, building electric buses, which I saw at a virtual tour last year when I met with the CEO virtually. And they really impressed me."
It's worth noting that more than 58,000 people signed a petition recently on Change.org demanding president Biden to acknowledge Tesla's EV leadership. We can't say whether the petition actually had anything to do with the president finally pronouncing the word "Tesla," but Elon Musk appears to believe it made a difference.
Biden is on record as praising General Motors and Ford on their electric vehicle initiatives, visiting their EV plants, and inviting them to White House events, but until now Tesla has been absent in his public remarks.
The fact that Tesla does not have unionized labor at its US plants—as opposed to the Detroit Three—was certainly a factor, as White House spokesperson Jen Psaki suggested during the August 2021 event on EVs and US manufacturing.
Biden's comments follow Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo's recent remarks on how the US government could use Tesla's expertise with latest-generation semiconductors.
In an interview with CNBC last week, she said the US government wants the help of anyone who has good ideas or is willing to help with the chip crisis, Tesla included. Raimondo also said she believed Tesla had better navigated the chip shortage than most traditional automakers because of its origin as tech company.