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White House Asked Elon Musk for Help Reaching Electric Vehicle Goal: WaPo

May 01, 2023May 01, 2023

Elon Musk and President Joe Biden may not be friends — but the White House still asked the billionaire to help tackle the climate crisis.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that White House aides asked Tesla CEO Musk to expand the company's charging stations to other electric vehicles during a meeting last month, according to people familiar with the meeting. Sources told the Post that Tesla officials were open to the idea of expanding its charging stations but did not make any commitments.

This request is part of the efforts Biden's administration is taking to meet its climate goals — its $1 trillion infrastructure package passed in 2021, which included investments to create 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and put the US on a path toward climate-friendly transportation. Tesla is the largest electric vehicle seller in the country and would benefit from Biden's investments, but it's unclear if Musk will dedicate the resources to help the administration reach its climate goals.

For example, when Biden wrote on Twitter in December that he's "building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country," Musk replied to the Tweet: "Or you can just buy a Tesla."

And Biden, who has frequently expressed support for unions, did not mention Tesla's electric vehicle production during his 2022 State of the Union address following Musk's criticism of unions at Tesla. Musk, at the time, took to Twitter to tout his company following its omission in Biden's speech.

Regardless of whether Musk will lend a hand to the administration, Biden is still moving forward with implementing climate investments. The Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act included an up to $7,500 tax credit for Americans who purchase an electric vehicle, and the Treasury Department will be implementing specific guidelines on where the vehicle's materials must be sourced in March.

Biden's Energy Department also granted a battery recycling company $2 billion on Thursday, which would allow it to pave the way for production of over 1 million electric vehicles each year.

Still, as expected, Republican lawmakers are not on board with Biden's climate investments. As they negotiate a deal to raise the debt limit, the GOP House Budget Committee released a list of proposed budget cuts on Wednesday, and it included canceling $27 in spending from the Inflation Reduction Act toward environmental programs, along with rescinding $13 billion in spending for green vehicles.

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