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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

3 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.

White House aims to protect workers from extreme heat

Two pear pickers in Hood River, Ore. on Aug. 13. Photo: Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a slew of actions Monday, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to protect American workers from extreme heat.

Driving the news: The U.S. just had its hottest summer on record, with triple-digit-temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions.