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Biden loves test-driving fast electric cars, but his snub of Tesla shows he loves unions more

Biden loves test-driving fast electric cars, but his snub of Tesla shows he loves unions more




Joe Biden driving a car: US President Joe Biden gets out of a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xE after delivering remarks on the steps his Administration is taking to strengthen American leadership on clean cars and trucks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 5, 2021. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images


© Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
US President Joe Biden gets out of a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xE after delivering remarks on the steps his Administration is taking to strengthen American leadership on clean cars and trucks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 5, 2021. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

  • Joe Biden loves test driving American-made electric vehicles, like Ford’s F-150 and Jeep’s Wrangler.
  • The fastest American EV, Tesla’s Model S Plaid, was notably absent from a White House event.
  • When it comes to electrified speed, Biden is clearly happy to prioritize union-made EVs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden loves fast cars.

At a visit to Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan plant in May, he was visibly impressed with the acceleration of the new electric F-150 pickup truck.

“This sucker is quick!” he said.

On Thursday, he zipped around the White House driveway in Jeep’s new plug-in hybrid Wrangler that delivers 375 horsepower.

Read more: Analysts explain why they’re skeptical about Biden’s ambitious plans for electric vehicle sales in the US

Flanked by electrified American icons Wrangler and Bronco, he quipped that GM CEO Mary Barra had promised him a test drive of the first electric model of his all-time favorite, the Chevrolet Corvette.

“When they make the first electric Corvette, I get to drive it. Right, Mary? You think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding,” he said.

The White House event took place just a week after another American automaker showed just how fast electric cars can be. On a drag strip in Florida, Tesla’s Model S Plaid utterly smoked a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, which is said to be the one of the world’s fastest production cars.

“I’ve driven fast cars before, but this one I could really feel,” the Tesla driver said. “Not everybody can handle this.”

But Tesla was notably absent from Biden’s celebration of American-made electric muscle cars, and the snub did not go unnoticed by CEO Elon Musk.

“Seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited,” he tweeted.

As it turned out, the main reason comes down to one thing President Biden prizes above speed or style: unions. Tesla is famously anti-union; Detroit’s Big Three are on a shrinking list of major employers who use organized labor.

When asked whether is was indeed the case that Tesla’s stance on unions was the reason for its exclusion, White House press secretary Jenn Psaki said, “I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.”

In remarks after his test drive, Biden expressed support for a plan that would provide purchase incentives totaling $10,000 for consumers to buy American-made clean vehicles, including Teslas.

Still, that plan offers an additional $2,500 if that American-made clean vehicle is from a union shop, like Ford, GM, or Stellantis.

In short, Biden loves a fast, American-made muscle car, especially if it’s electric.

But he loves unions more.

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