I’ve long had a disdain for politics and the people who are attracted to the sport. If given the choice to live in Washington or undergo a weekly colonoscopy, I’d choose the latter. At least they put you to sleep before scoping your rectum.

Until Donald Trump’s election as president, I naively assumed there were people much smarter than me overseeing and protecting America, which admittedly isn’t a very high bar. The legacy media did an excellent job alerting the public about some of the questionable intellect occupying offices in the west wing of the Trump White House, most notably Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. If my father had donated $2.5 million to Harvard, maybe I could have gone to that disgraced Ivy League school, and if I had model good looks, my former PR business likely could have been even more successful.

Sorry Trump haters, I’m non-partisan in my disdain and criticisms of political leaders, particularly those who have no business being in their positions. As unqualified and questionable Kushner and Ivanka were, they didn’t remotely cause the damage Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are inflicting on America.

Biden says climate change is a national security issue and so is having China obliterate America’s major corporations, as that country most assuredly will do to GM and Ford as EVs gain traction and become the vehicle mode of choice around the world. China was once GM’s biggest profit center, and as recently as 2019, the company commanded a 15% market share. In 2023, GM lost more than $100 million in the world’s biggest automotive market because China residents consider it a faded brand with behind-the-times technology.

Ford’s presence in China is so minuscule that it’s barely worth mentioning. There’s virtually no demand for the company’s electric Mustang, which Ford proudly manufactures in Mexico, and its electric F-150 Lightning pickups.


Granholm and Buttigieg are responsible for executing President Joe Biden’s aggressive EV goals and objectives, and they are failing miserably. They’ve contributed mightily to the U.S. public’s perception that EVs are costly and unreliable vehicles for the affluent and nonstop horror tales about unreliable charging station snafus have caused a collective national range anxiety that will take years to overcome. Granholm and Buttigieg are responsible for the miserable state of EV charging in America, one that appears poised to get much worse.

Despite Tesla saying in a regulatory filing just days ago that it planned to “rapidly” expand its charging network, founder and CEO Elon Musk last week dramatically reversed course and fired Tesla’s highly regarded 500-person team responsible for building and expanding the company’s unrivaled Superchargers. Among the victims were Rebecca Tinucci, who joined Tesla six years ago and is credited for the success of the buildout. According to multiple media reports, Musk opted to fire Tinucci and her entire team after she warned that budget cuts Musks wanted implemented would impair Tesla’s promised charging network expansion.

Tinucci, whom I profiled last September, is a hero to those of us who believe that EVs will never take off until owning and maintaining one is as convenient as owning a gas engine vehicle. While GM CEO Mary Barra’s articulated EV vision was to sell more of them than Tesla, here’s what Tinucci was quoted as saying in a news release announcing Hilton’s plans to install up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors at 2,000 hotels:

To ensure electric vehicle adoption at scale, our joint industry goal must be to vastly improve upon the traditional gasoline vehicle ownership experience, not just meet it. Installing infrastructure at popular destinations like Hilton hotels enables EV owners to charge where they park, meaning no unnecessary refueling stops along their journey. We applaud Hilton for their leadership in the space and look forward to continuing to ramp this critical program with other industry leaders.

Hilton didn’t respond to a reporter who asked about the status of its Tesla charger installation program, likely because the company has no clue where it stands. Underscoring how little thought and consideration Musk put into his decision, the legacy and trade media are rife with anecdotes about companies who were doing business with Tinucci’s team and have been left in the lurch.

Wildflower, a New York real estate developer, was on the verge of signing a lease with Tesla to build a charging center near the heavily trafficked intersection of Interstates 278 and 495 in Queens. Adam Gordon, the firm’s managing partner, told the New York Times he got an unexpected text message from the Tesla executive he had been working with.

“‘Hey, I was fired at 4 a.m. and my boss was fired too,’” the Tesla manager said, according to Gordon. “That was the only communication we got from Tesla.”


Musk over the years has received heaps of negative media coverage, which went into overdrive after he acquired Twitter and put an end to the social media site’s censorship of conservative voices and its collusion with the Biden Administration and other government agencies. The hostility directed at Musk these days is coming from readers of publications that promote and drive electric vehicles and were steadfastly loyal to him.

Check out the more than 300 comments posted to this article in Electrek, a longtime cheerleading EV publication. The prevailing sentiment is that Musk has become a major impediment to the success of both Tesla and EV adoption, with many readers calling on the board to fire him. Several readers say they own Tesla stock and will oppose Musk’s request for a $56 billion pay package. Some posters said they wouldn’t buy another Tesla.

“It’s possible to make deep cuts and aggressively reduce costs without being a jerk. A good CEO would make the tough decisions while also thinking about the people involved, especially the ones who will remain at Tesla and build for the future,” opined one reader. “Elon is incapable of thinking that way and that’s why he’s not fit to run Tesla anymore. The board should either reign him in or replace him. If he only cares about robots and AI, they should spin out that business and give the toddler his own playground.”

It’s understandable why a Tesla enthusiast might be reluctant to buy one. Musk could possibly wake up tomorrow and decide that he no longer wants to service and update Tesla’s software. While that might seem hyperbolic, if I had pondered a week ago that Musk on a whim might decide to fire Minucci and disband her team, no one would have deemed that speculation credible.

U.S. taxpayers must be made to understand how the Biden Administration has squandered billions of their monies and why Musk’s firing of Tinucci and the dismantling of her team will further harm Biden’s EV transition and dramatically raise the costs to build a reliable national charging network.

Tesla accounts for 25,500 of the 42,000 fast chargers installed in the U.S., the New York Times reported, citing federal government data. A fast charger can top up an electric-car battery in 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the car and the charger. There are about 132,000 slower public chargers that can fully recharge electric cars in roughly eight to 12 hours.

When it comes to reliability, Tesla’s network is in a league of its own. Without it, there is unanimous agreement that Tesla wouldn’t have achieved the success it has so far. In California, Tesla’s biggest market, range anxiety is a non-issue. A Tesla owner can drive throughout most of the state confident there is a fast charger in good working order along the way. I estimate that in Santa Monica, there are more Superchargers than there are gas stations.

A year ago, Musk feigned altruism and said he wanted to open Tesla’s charging network to rivals to help accelerate America’s EV transition. As is invariably the case with Musk, he benefited financially from the decision. Last December, the Biden Administration rewrote its eligibility requirements for the billions in taxpayer monies it was doling out to include Tesla, further subsidizing the efforts of the world’s richest man who wouldn’t have an EV business if it wasn’t for the kindness of taxpayers, especially those residing in California.

Tesla pledged to install more charging plazas than any other company funded by Biden’s 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, according to an analysis of public records for Politoco’s E&E News by the data consulting firm EVAdoption. Tesla won almost 13 percent of all EV charging awards, garnering more than $17 million in infrastructure grants.

From a strictly dollars and cents perspective, subsidizing Tesla’s Supercharging expansion efforts was smart public policy.  According to EVAdoption’s data, Tesla won $17 million to build a total of 41 charging stations. The next-biggest winner of grants, Oklahoma-based Francis Energy, was awarded much more money — almost $30.4 million — to build just 37 stations.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Tesla planned to install eight chargers, and in some cases a dozen, at its stations. Most companies are sticking to the minimum required by the federal government—at least four fast-charging ports at a station.

Rebecca Tinucci/LinkedIn

On the charging front, Tesla had an advantage over charging station rivals that was unbeatable. In one Maine bid, the company estimated hardware costs of $17,000 a charger, compared with $130,000 by another company, according to EVAdoption.

“We’re vertically integrated,” Tinucci explained at a Tesla investor meeting last March. “We manufacture and engineer all of our own charging equipment.” 

Despite Musk’s well-established erratic behavior, EV enthusiasts and their Biden-loving media enablers were gaga about Tesla’s commitment to aggressively expand its network and open it to rivals.

“Tesla is a company full of very smart engineers and other professionals who have accelerated the transition to electric vehicles,” crowed Nick Nigro, the founder of Atlas Public Policy, a Washington-based EV analysis firm. “While their CEO gets disproportionate attention because of his antics, he does not define the company, and the company does not need his input to succeed.”

Hopefully, Nigro hasn’t choked to death eating his previous words.

I’m unable to find even one publication that’s determined if the Biden Administration has already released to Tesla some or all the $17 million in taxpayer handouts previously guaranteed to the company. It’s also unclear whether the Biden Administration had the good sense to demand performance guarantees in its contracts and whether it has any recourse if they aren’t met.

Underscoring the cluelessness of Granholm and Buttigieg, the New York Times reported that Biden officials responsible for funding and promoting electric vehicles said they were not dismayed by Musk’s decision to pull back on charging because thousands of other chargers are coming online every month.

“We don’t expect individual business decisions to impact E.V. charging projects,” the Biden administration’s Joint Office of Energy and Transportation said in a statement.

“Individual business decisions” involving a significant part of the charging infrastructure the Biden Administration was counting on Tesla to build very much impacts charging projects, particularly since there is an urgent need to get those projects up and running.

With Tesla out of the picture, the burden on taxpayers to build a national charging network will soar, as there is no meaningful competition to keep costs down. Companies awarded Tesla’s business will require and demand considerably more taxpayer funds to build the charging stations that Tesla promised, and it’s far from certain they will prove to be even as remotely as reliable.

Alarmingly, the Biden administration’s failure to build a national charging network isn’t all that should have U.S. taxpayers in a tizzy. Reading up on China’s successful strategy transitioning to electric vehicles, I learned that there was considerable outrage when the communist government gave Tesla a below market $1.5 billion loan to build its factory in Shanghai.

The New York Times reported the deal was so generous that Huang Yonghe, a senior official with a government-owned auto industry group, recalled one government minister balking at it.

“(The government minister) said the Shanghai leaders were unbelievable — giving away the entire investment without Tesla having to spend a penny,” Huang told the Times.

Let me put that $1.5 billion low market loan in perspective. Granholm, whose name was already synonymous with with green energy failures after her two terms as Michigan’s governor, last year gave Ford a below market $9.2 billion loan to build an EV factory in Tennessee and two battery plants in Kentucky.

Granholm’s loan, which I’ve previously railed about, was made from a special fund earmarked for innovative projects not eligible for traditional financing. Granholm named Ford’s chief lobbyist an advisor to the fund weeks before Ford got its loan. Ford’s chief counsel is a former senior Obama White House official who also previously worked in the Energy Department.

These sorts of questionable dealings are something I imagined took place in China. The $1.5 billion to finance Tesla’s Shanghai plant may have seemed questionable, but Tesla’s Shanghai operations are its most profitable and have undergone a significant expansion.

Ford has already delayed plans to commence production at one of its Kentucky battery plants.


A choir of two: I’m delighted I’m no longer alone railing about Ford CEO Jim Farley and his obscene more than $26 million annual compensation. Douglas McIntyre, editor of the website 24/7 Wall Street, last week called on Ford to dump its chairman and other Ford family members and find a replacement for Ford CEO Jim Farley.

McIntyre’s Ford takedown did Starkman Approved proud. It can be found here.

I note also that Institutional Shareholder Services has recommended that Boeing investors oppose CEO Dave Calhoun’s $33 million pay package for 2023, noting that the $514,285 the company paid for the failed executive’s private travel “significantly exceeded” median pay for flights among chief executives of S&P 500-listed companies.

Ford in 2023 paid more than $600,000 for CEO Farley’s flights, and more than $900,000 in 2022.

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