President Joe Biden mentioned Tesla Inc. on Tuesday in a White House speech, after recent complaints by the electric-vehicle brand’s chief executive that his administration snubbed the EV maker.
Speaking alongside Tritium DCFC Ltd. DCFC, +39.47% CEO Jane Hunter about the Australian company’s plan to build a plant in Tennessee, Biden only briefly discussed Tesla TSLA, +1.62% while talking about other companies, such as General Motors Co. GM, -2.46% and Ford Motor Co. F, -0.95%, who are building out electric-vehicle production. Biden called Tesla “our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently tweeted that Biden, “for reasons unknown,” is “unable to say the word ‘Tesla.’” And as of the end of January, more than 33,000 people had signed a petition on change.org asking Biden to acknowledge Tesla’s electric-vehicle leadership, according to the Associated Press. By Tuesday afternoon, it had more than 58,000 signatures.
As the AP wrote, the petitioners accused the president of ignoring Tesla, a nonunion company, in favor of the traditional Detroit auto makers, which are unionized. In his speech Tuesday, Biden also mentioned other newer companies attempting to make electric vehicles, including Rivian Automotive Inc. RIVN, +4.44% and Proterra Inc. PTRA, +3.89%
Writing on Twitter after Biden made his comments, Musk tagged the president while linking to a post about the world’s top five EV automotive groups by sales last year. He also replied to a self-described Tesla owner, saying the petition “made a difference!”