- Democrats proposed a bill that included a $US4,500 ($AU6,118) tax incentive for electric vehicles built by companies with unions.
- Elon Musk said the bill was written by lobbyists for Ford and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
- The bill could benefit unionized companies such as Ford. Tesla is historically anti-union.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticized a bill that could benefit electric vehicle manufacturers with unions.
Democrat House lawmakers on Friday put forward a bill that would give a $US4,500 ($AU6,118) tax incentive to consumers buying electric vehicles assembled at US facilities with a union.
Musk claimed in a tweet on Sunday the bill had been engineered by lobbyists for Ford and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
“This is written by Ford/UAW lobbyists, as they make their electric car in Mexico. Not obvious how this serves American taxpayers,” the Tesla billionaire tweeted, linking to a Bloomberg article about Ford’s production of its Mustang Mach-E cars at its Mexico plant.
-Name (@elonmusk) September 12, 2021
The $US4,500 ($AU6,118) incentive could give an advantage to unionized US automakers such as GM, Ford, and Chrysler, while Tesla – which has historically opposed unionization – could lose out.
Musk did not provide any evidence of lobbying by Ford and UAW. A UAW spokesman did not respond to Musk’s comments when asked by Insider, but highlighted a statement from UAW President Ray Curry praising the bill.
Ford did not immediately reply when contacted by Insider for comment.
The bill also grants a $US7,500 ($AU10,197) base consumer incentive for all new EVs sold in the US, and would allow foreign-made cars to claim that incentive for five years. This provision would apply to Ford cars assembled in Mexico.
In a follow-up tweet replying to a Twitter user who said President Joe Biden should be making American-made cars a priority, Musk said “ahem,” and tagged the president’s official account.
There are already been signs of tension between Tesla and the Biden administration over the company’s anti-union stance. Biden held an event celebrating American electric vehicles in August – Tesla was notably absent. Musk tweeted at the time that it was “odd that Tesla wasn’t invited.”
Foreign companies without US unions would also lose out under the incentive. Toyota and Honda also opposed the bill in statements on Saturday, Reuters reported. Toyota said the bill discriminated against “American autoworkers based on their choice not to unionize.”
The bill is due to be voted on by the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, Reuters reported.