Dreams do come true. Elon Musk got to visit with Biden administration officials at the White House on Wednesday.
The occasion? A meeting of auto industry leaders to discuss electric vehicles and charging infrastructure with senior administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. On the industry side, the group also included the heads of GM, Ford, Stellantis, Lucid and Nissan.
The group met to discuss the interoperability of chargers and charging networks, a fertile topic given that a handful of companies have followed Tesla’s lead and announced plans for their own proprietary networks. But the tides seem to be shifting toward open networks where any EV can charge at any station. The administration itself has put forward a plan and funding to build out a network across the U.S.
In a statement, the Biden administration said “there was broad consensus that charging stations and vehicles need to be interoperable and provide a seamless user experience, no matter what car you drive or where you charge your EV.” The participants also discussed cooperation between government and industry on a domestic supply chain for battery materials, which has become an increasingly hot topic after Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up production.
The meeting is a big deal for Twitter's newest board member, who's been upset with the Biden administration for not saying enough nice things about Tesla. Or anything at all, really. It took until early February for Biden to even mention Tesla, the country’s largest EV producer, a fact that evidently aggrieved Musk.
In late February, after reporting emerged that the White House had no interest in hosting Musk with other corporate leaders, Musk emailed CNBC to double down on his frustrations with being ignored. But — and it’s a big but! — he also sought to assuage any fears that he might make a scene if he ultimately received an invite.
“They have nothing to worry about,” he told CNBC. “I would do the right thing.”
Still, when the president mentioned Ford and GM in the State of the Union but not Tesla, Musk fired off a cranky reply to a Biden tweet. White House aides said Biden’s apparent antipathy is rooted in the Tesla CEO's anti-union stance. (While major automakers sport unionized workforces, none of Tesla's plants have unionized.)
But despite the acrimony and potential differences of opinion, Musk's assurances he'd "do the right thing" if he got the invite seem to have paid off. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the White House on Wednesday. As of press time, Musk had not yet tweeted about the meeting.