InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
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Palo Alto, United States
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Climate Lobbying Overview: Tesla has actively and positively engaged on a number of streams of climate legislation globally in 2021-22. The company has supported extensive national climate regulations for the automotive sector including higher GHG emissions standards for road transport in the EU, US and New Zealand, and more ambitious ICE phase out dates in the EU, UK, and California.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Tesla has mostly positive top-line messaging on climate policy. In a September 2021 UK consultation response found via FOI request, Tesla appeared to support EU Climate Law and its objective to reach climate neutrality by 2050. It also advocated for GHG emissions reductions in line with the IPCC demanded 1.5°C target in a May 2022 US consultation response. It further communicated broad support for efforts towards increased GHG emissions reductions in a September 2021 US consultation response, where it advocated for policymakers to increase the level of ambition of government regulation on climate change. However, in December 2021, Musk appeared to oppose the US Reconciliation Bill, which includes extensive climate policies, stating in a Reuters interview that "honestly, it might be better if the bill doesn't pass".

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Tesla has actively supported numerous key climate regulations globally. The company is highly supportive of stringent CO2 standards for both heavy- and light-duty vehicles, supporting moves to strengthen standards for the latter in regulatory consultations in the US, EU and New Zealand in 2021. This includes advocating for the EU’s proposed 2035 100% zero-emission CO2 target for light-duty vehicles to be brought forward to 2030 or sooner in a February 2021 EU consultation response. Tesla also expressed support for higher light-duty vehicle CO2 targets in New Zealand's Clean Car Bill in a November 2021 consultation response. In the US, a September 2021 US consultation response indicated strong support for the EPA's higher range federal GHG emissions standards for light-duty vehicles, as well as for the removal of flexibilities that may weaken the stringency of the standards. In a July 2021 consultation response, Tesla also appeared to strongly support the US EPA's proposal to restore California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to enforce its own more ambitious GHG emission standards, as well as a ZEV sales mandate. With regard to US heavy-duty vehicle policy, in a May 2022 consultation response, Tesla appeared to strongly support more ambitious GHG emission standards in the federal "Clean Trucks Plan", calling for the EPA to develop more stringent “Phase 3” standards well before 2030.

The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, has consistently publicly advocated for a carbon tax, for example in February 2021 and October 2021 CNBC news reports. In the United States, Tesla took legal action to reinstate higher penalties for automakers that fail to meet US fuel economy standards, as highlighted in a September 2021 consultation response. In January 2022, Tesla also took legal action to support the introduction of higher penalties for automakers not meeting US fuel economy standards, according to a Reuters news report.

According to a July 2021 Politico tweet, Tesla was also among a group of companies directly advocating to Congress to enact a federal clean energy standard that aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Tesla is a strong supporter of measures to electrify transportation, and has mostly supported a variety of related regulatory initiatives. In the United States, Tesla has directly advocated to policymakers in numerous states supporting their adoption of the state-level Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation. This includes Massachusetts in March 2022, Maine in November 2021, New York in November 2021 and Washington in August 2021, all found via FOIA request. It also strongly supported the proposed adoption of the rule in Colorado in a November 2021 public meeting, and in North Carolina in a June 2022 joint letter. Furthermore, Tesla strongly supported California's proposed Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation in an October 2022 consultation response, calling for higher ambition, including accelerating the 100% ZEV sales requirement to 2035.

Tesla strongly supported California's requests to the EPA for the issuance of a pre-emption waiver authorizing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to enforce the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation under the Clean Air Act in an August 2022 consultation response and a December 2022 joint letter. This follows the company’s earlier support to restore California’s authority to enforce its own light-duty ZEV sales mandate in a July 2021 consultation response.

With regard to light-duty vehicles, in May and July 2022 consultation responses, Tesla advocated for greater stringency in California's Advanced Clean Cars II regulation, calling for the 100% ZEV mandate for light-duty vehicles to be brought forward from 2035 to 2030 in the latter. The company has also promoted greater access to EV charging across the US. For example, in an April 2022 testimony, it called for state-wide minimum requirements for EV charging readiness in new commercial buildings in Colorado, while in Hawaii, it appeared to support wider access to the EV charging system rebate program in testimonies in February, March and April 2022. In its February 2022 New York State Budget testimony, Tesla strongly supported legislation to expand direct-to-consumer sales of ZEVs by manufacturers in the state of New York, which would increase the availability and sales of ZEVs, as well as advocating for a Clean Fuel Standard Programme to accelerate the EV transition.

In the UK, according to a September 2021 consultation response found via FOI request, Tesla advocated for the phase-out of all non-zero-emission light-duty vehicles by 2030, or only plug-in sales from 2030-35. In the same consultation response, it called for the phase-out of ICE-powered heavy-duty vehicles in the UK by 2035. In the EU, Tesla urged policymakers in a February 2021 consultation response to adopt ambitious light-duty ZEV mandates of 30% by 2025, and 100% by 2030. In Australia, in a July 2021 consultation response, Tesla appeared to support the phase-out of fossil fuels by 2050 and a transition away from gas towards electrification in Victoria's Gas Substitution Roadmap. In New Zealand, in a November 2021 consultation response, Tesla strongly supported the Clean Vehicle Discount scheme in the Clean Car Bill, alongside supporting an ICE phase-out date for light-duty vehicles in New Zealand in the 2030s.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has made mixed statements on the energy transition in 2021-22. In the company’s October 2022 earnings call, Musk appeared to support permitting reform in order to achieve a full transition away from fossil fuels towards clean energy, and in a March 2022 Insider news report, he stated that “decarbonization will ultimately be achieved through solar energy”, while emphasizing that “it's essential to maintain nuclear energy plants”. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting global energy crisis, the Tesla CEO stated on Twitter “hate to say it, but we need to increase oil and gas output immediately”, arguing further that “sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil and gas exports”. Musk reiterated his point at an August 2022 energy conference, where he argued that “fossil fuels are still necessary in the short-term” and that “at this time, we actually need more oil and gas, not less”. In December 2021, Tesla’s CEO stated opposition to Congress approving new EV subsidies in the Reconciliation Bill, stating in a Reuters interview "I'm literally saying get rid of all subsidies", and further appeared to oppose federal EV tax credits in the US in a June 2022 Forbes article.

Industry Association Governance: Tesla has not disclosed its membership to industry associations on its corporate website, neither has it published a review of its alignment with its industry associations. The company is a member of a number of industry associations with highly positive climate policy engagement including SolarPower Europe and SmartEN in Europe, and the Zero Emissions Transport Association (ZETA) in the US. Tesla senior executives sit on the board of Australia’s Clean Energy Council and the European Association for Electromobility (AVERE), both of which have highly positive climate policy engagement.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.