by Steven Dennis | bloomberg
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to sell her Tesla. Ted Cruz is considering buying one.
Driving an electric car manufactured by Elon Musk’s company is an increasingly loaded decision for lawmakers. An exit in a Capitol Hill parking lot could be a sign of support for renewable energy — but with Musk’s dive in favor, it could also be a political symbol.
The chief executive of Tesla Inc. has pleased Republicans recently by declaring his support of the GOP and unleashing a stream of criticism from Democrats, unions, and what he calls the “wake-mind virus.”
“He’s a billionaire. I could care less what he thinks,” Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat who recently had a Twitter dustup with Musk, asked about his support for the GOP. Said on leaving.
Ocasio-Cortez bought its Model 3 in 2020 to travel between Washington and its Bronx-Queens district after Covid-19 hit. Now, New York representatives want to ditch it for an electric vehicle made by union workers. “At the time, it was the only EV that could take me from New York to Washington for like a fee or one and a half,” she said. “I’d love to switch.”
The only union-built electric vehicles for sale in the US are the Chevrolet Bolt, the slightly larger Bolt EUV and Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup. Only the Bolt was available for sale in 2020.
Texas Republican Senator Cruz, who represents the state most identified with the fossil-fuel industry, welcomed Musk to the Republican Party, and called his planned acquisition of Twitter Inc. “the most important move to free speech in decades”. development”. He’s happy that Musk has become a Texan to boot.
“When Elon moved to Texas, I spent 45 minutes on the phone with him, urging him to come to Texas and saying, ‘Look, we like jobs in Texas, we don’t want you to be laid off, we want you. Come here and hire a bunch of Texans,'” Cruz said. In addition to Tesla’s Gigafactory and headquarters in Texas, Musk’s SpaceX has a launch site near the Texas-Mexico border town of Boca Chica.
According to a tally by Bloomberg News, there is no complete account of how many federal lawmakers own Tesla, with at least 10 representatives or senators holding them. There are many members of what is called the Tesla Caucus who might be expected to be interested in a zero-emissions car, such as Green New Deal co-author Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman Tom Carper.
But not all of his Tesla-driving companions fit that profile. Republican Representative Thomas Massey of Kentucky is likely to be the only Tesla Model S driver in Congress with a “Friends of Cole” license plate. Massey was one of the first Tesla converts in Congress, taking delivery in January 2013 after a long wait.
“The one I drive is serial number 3,347,” Macy said proudly.
An MIT-trained engineer, Massey says he only has one personal stock — Tesla — which he bought after installing batteries from a crashed Model S to back up the solar panels in his off-the-grid home. A 2020 financial disclosure form shows Tesla shares of Macy’s were worth between $15,001 and $50,000.
“It’s not a car company, it’s a battery company,” he said. “Cars is just their first killer app.”
Massey said after coming close to backing the idea, which is less likely to support antitrust legislation aimed at large tech companies, now Musk has agreed to acquire a major social media platform.
“But then comes Elon, buys Twitter,” he said. “It might be what I’m looking for.”
While Musk’s personality is heavily tied to his brands, Democrats often choose to separate the man from the vehicle. Carper sold its beloved Chrysler Town & Country minivan with nearly 600,000 miles last year and replaced it with a red Tesla Model Y. A new long-range Model Y now costs more than $64,000 after destination and fees and before taxes.
“It’s a lot of fun to drive,” said the Delaware senator, adding that he’s saving a lot on gasoline. “I’ve been able to charge it at home, plug it in at 10 p.m. when electricity rates are so low, so it’s quite a bargain.”
Other Tesla-owned Democrats — including California Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Rhode Island’s David Sicilian, Delaware’s Lisa Blunt Rochester and New Jersey’s Tom Malinowski — also keep Musk’s correct political behavior out of their car choice.
However, Musk doesn’t make it easy for lawmakers to ignore him. The world’s richest man is also the CEO of SpaceX, a major government contractor. Tesla’s driver-assistance feature known as Autopilot is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing Musk’s bid for Twitter over antitrust concerns, although the deal is on its way to closure. Not likely to stand.
Read more: Tesla’s Autopilot shakes US alarm as ‘disaster waiting to happen’
Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, who has done consulting work for SpaceX, is another Democratic Tesla driver in Congress.
Kelly has a black Model S Performance which he says can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a little over 2 seconds. “This car is a lot of fun to drive. It’s also generally good for the environment, isn’t it? Zero emissions.” Kelly represents a state where petrol prices are higher than the national average.
Kelly also piloted a spacecraft and an A6-E Intruder attack aircraft for the Navy, so he has some credibility when he calls Musk “a very good engineer.” He looks at Musk’s plans for Twitter through that lens. “Engineering, especially software engineering, is behind any kind of application, even Twitter – there is always room for improvement,” he said. “we will see.”
Senator Martin Henrik of New Mexico was an early buyer of the Tesla Model 3 who worked on a solar-powered electric car as an engineering student at the University of Missouri.
Heinrich, like most Democrats, sees Musk as a man full of contradictions.
“I’m not a fan of Musk, but I appreciate, like, he’s both brilliant and incredibly arrogant,” he said. “People can set these things aside. Should he pay more tax? Yes. Do I want him to stop making cars? Absolutely not.”
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