Dana Hull and Sarah McBride | Bloomberg
Elon Musk from Tesla Inc. opposed the economic package signed by President Joe Biden, questioning the need for legislation to support the introduction of electric vehicles, amid fears that government spending was spiraling out of control.
“Honestly, I would just pay this entire bill,” the Tesla CEO said late Monday during a remote address at the Wall Street Journal conference. “Don’t pass by. This is my recommendation. “
Musk’s stance appears to be at odds with Tesla’s stated mission: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. But in the past few years, the company has been losing out against other automakers selling electric vehicles in the United States. Tesla hit the $ 7,500 federal tax credit limit in mid-2018, resulting in a gradual phase-out in sales. decrease to zero as of January 2020.
While Biden’s Build Back Better proposal will restore $ 7,500 credit to Tesla and remove any restrictions on the number of electric vehicles one manufacturer is eligible for, it will also give consumers an additional $ 4,500 if the vehicle is assembled by union workers. This will remain an advantage for other automakers, as Musk opposed United Auto Workers’ attempt to set up a Tesla car plant in Fremont, California.
Musk’s criticism – he called the federal budget deficit “insane” and unsustainable – followed months of social tension between the world’s richest man and the White House. In August, Biden invited General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and the owner of Chrysler Stellantis N.V. on the White House lawn to announce an executive order to electrify cars sold in the United States for the remaining decade. Tesla was not invited.
Last month, Biden visited a plant that GM has converted to make electric vehicles, and said the company and Detroit are leading the way in promoting electric vehicles. Tesla is the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer and marketer.
Speaking remotely from a factory Tesla is building in Austin, Texas, Musk acknowledged that the US could have better airports and highways and better deal with congestion in cities. He called for some combination of double-decker freeways and tunnels to be built – the latest proposal would be in line with the mission of The Boring Company, the company he founded in 2016.
But those directions are too late for an infrastructure package that Biden signed last month, which included $ 7.5 billion to expand the U.S. electric car charging network. Musk called this particular measure “unnecessary” and said he was in favor of eliminating all federal subsidies, including for the oil and gas industry.
“The government should play the role of a referee, not a player on the pitch,” Musk said. He must “get out of the way and not hinder progress.”
In 2010, Tesla took advantage of a $ 465 million federal government loan that the company paid off three years later.
Musk continued to speak of China in a relatively respectful, albeit not overly emotional way. He described Tesla’s relationship with the government as generally good, but said that this does not mean that he supports everything the country does.
Although he predicted that China is on track to make China’s economy two to three times the size of the United States, Musk said many in the government came of age when its economy was small and the country felt “strongly nudged.”
“They haven’t fully grasped the fact that China is really going to be the big kid in the area,” Musk said. “You can really take things pretty calmly. Other countries are not really a threat to you if you are the largest child in the area. This is an important change in thinking. “
In an extensive interview, Musk reiterated his view that falling fertility rates are “one of the greatest risks to civilization.”
When asked why he has so many children – he has six sons, including a toddler – Musk smiled. “I’m trying to set a good example,” he said.
Tesla’s Technocking also ridiculed the company’s positions, including the role of CEO, calling it a “fictitious title” without any sense. He said he works seven days a week, splitting most of his time between Tesla and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., whichever company needs his attention most.
Cybertruck and psychedelics
Musk said the upcoming Cybertruck Tesla, slated for mass production in 2023, may be the company’s “best product ever,” but warned that it has a lot of new technology and is difficult to manufacture.
The billionaire who smoked marijuana during a video interview with podcaster Joe Rogan in 2018 also briefly joked about drugs when asked about his views on aging and psychedelics.
“I don’t think cutting acid will make you age less,” he said. “I think drugs are probably making you age.”
(Updates with additional comments starting with the second paragraph.)
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