Jul 11, 2017

A Tesla challenger appears to give up

January 2016 concept car (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP)

Two years ago, a Chinese-backed company called Faraday Future surfaced in California with a billion dollars, stole two executives from Tesla and one from SpaceX, and at once was a challenger for dominance in the fashionable end of electric cars. It showed off outlandishly designed concept cars (like that above), and even matched Tesla by negotiating a tax-incentivized deal to build an enormous factory in Nevada.

All this has fallen apart with a Shanghai court's decision last week to freeze the assets of Faraday's main backer, Jia Yueting, and Faraday's abandonment of the plan to build a plant in Nevada, per Fortune. Tesla, meanwhile, is barreling ahead with the first customer deliveries of its mainstream-priced Model 3 later this month.

Why it matters: You are witnessing the downhill side of a free-for-all that built into an apex last year in electric cars and advanced batteries. Now, companies are falling by the wayside, and the strongest pushing forward. Yet we are only at the beginning of the curve of finding out whether mainstream buyers will buy large numbers of electrics.

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health