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The Volvo XC40 Recharge. Courtesy: Volvo

The slow global transition to electric vehicles is facing a mix of green and yellow lights.

Driving the news: Volvo has taken the wraps off its first fully electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, a small SUV unveiled yesterday that has a range of roughly 250 miles.

  • Specifics on pricing are unclear. But per multiple reports, Anders Gustafsson, the automaker's top U.S. official, said it will be around $50,000 with incentives.
  • And Ford announced Thursday what it calls North America's "largest electric vehicle charging network" as it prepares to launch its line of electric cars.
  • Via CNN, Ford is working with EV charging companies Greenlots and Electrify America. "When needed, users will be directed to one of the network's chargers using an app or in the vehicle's central touch screen," they report.

Why it matters: The Volvo SUV — slated to be available in the U.S. in late 2020 — is the latest of an expanding number of consumer offerings. Legacy automakers and startups alike are planning a suite of new models.

The big picture: The number of fully electric vehicles on sale in the U.S. is slated to jump from 21 this year to 35 next year, according to the research firm IHS Markit. They see it mushrooming from there, reaching 130 by 2026, according to data projections shared with Axios. Ford, in its charging announcement, notes that its "Mustang-inspired SUV" will arrive in 2020, and the company is pouring billions of dollars into EV efforts in the coming years.

But, but, but: This fall has brought a fresh reminder of why the transition to electric vehicles faces headwinds, too. "A recent streak of events highlight the challenges (from financial to technical) with commercializing all-electric transport," Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note this week.

  • They note examples including the financial struggles of the Chinese EV startup Nio and Dyson's decision to pull the plug on its EV plans.
  • Several recent reports show slowing sales in the U.S., and China, where the government has recently cut subsidies.

The intrigue: The United Auto Workers' strike against GM underscored how the shift toward EVs is forcing changes in automakers' relationships with their workforces. A tentative agreement to end the strike emerged yesterday.

  • Axios' Joann Muller recently flagged a UAW analysis which found that EVs have 80% fewer parts, and are easier to assemble, which means they'll require a lot fewer workers.
  • GM's electric plans are part of the tentative agreement to end the strike. Per the Detroit Free Press, GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant would stay open to produce an electric pickup truck.

Go deeper: The risky business of electric vehicles

Go deeper

53 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
54 mins ago - Health

Many vulnerable Americans have received the coronavirus vaccine

Data: CDC, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than two-thirds of Americans 75 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, as have more than half of those 65-74, per CDC data.

Why it matters: Any future surge in cases almost certainly wouldn't be as deadly as previous waves, because older people are the most likely to die from the virus.

3 hours ago - World

Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.