By Nandita Bose, David Shepardson and Raphael Satter
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk met two top officials in President Joe Biden's administration on Friday in Washington to discuss how the car maker and the Democratic president could work together to advance electric vehicle production and speed electrification of U.S. vehicle networks.
Musk met John Podesta, a Democratic stalwart who serves as senior advisor to the president for clean energy innovation, and Mitch Landrieu, who oversees infrastructure spending, a White House spokesperson confirmed to Reuters.
"John Podesta and Mitch Landrieu met with Elon Musk to discuss shared goals around electrification and how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act can advance electric vehicle production and charging as well as the broader cause of electrification," the White House spokesperson said.
A Reuters witness on Friday spotted Podesta, Landrieu and Musk entering a downtown building that houses both Tesla's Washington lobbying operation and the Center for American Progress, the think tank Podesta founded. Landrieu and Podesta left about half an hour later and did not answer questions.
Musk left about 45 minutes after Podesta and Landrieu. He too ignored questions from a Reuters reporter
U.S. consumers who bought Teslas became eligible again this month for up to $7,500 in consumer tax credits, under the $430 billion U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed last August. An earlier tax credit for Tesla buyers expired after the automaker sold its first 200,000 vehicles in the United States.
The law imposes requirements that EVs receiving the tax credits must be North American-made. There are also caps on vehicle prices and income for buyers who are eligible for the credits.
The law also sets new battery sourcing restrictions expected to take effect in March. It also includes new U.S. battery production credits that Musk said earlier this week could have significant benefits to the company.
Biden only publicly acknowledged the role of Tesla in U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing over a year after taking office, after Musk repeatedly complained about being ignored.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose, David Shepardson and Raphael Satter; Editing by Mark Porter, Heather Timmons and David Gregorio)