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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When Hertz announced last week that it had ordered 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla, both companies saw their share prices soar. Tesla even topped $1 trillion in market value.

Fast forward: The companies are now bickering over whether or not they signed a deal, sending shares lower.

The initial salvo came on Monday night from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, via a tweet: "...I’d like to emphasize that no contract has been signed yet. Tesla has far more demand than production, therefore we will only sell cars to Hertz for the same margin as to consumers. Hertz deal has zero effect on our economics."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Hertz replied on Tuesday morning with a statement: "As we announced last week, Hertz has made an initial order of 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles and is investing in new EV charging infrastructure across the company's global operations. Deliveries of the Teslas already have started. We are seeing very strong early demand for Teslas in our rental fleet, which reflects market demand for Tesla vehicles."

  • When Axios followed up on how to square Hertz's statement with Musk's tweet, the spokesperson replied: "We can only speak for Hertz, and we remain on plan with what we announced last week."

Our thought bubble: The SEC needs to get to the bottom of what was or wasn't signed, as these are two public companies that made conflicting public statements about their businesses.

  • Musk is clearly trying to argue that the Hertz deal isn't financially material to Tesla, but it clearly moved the stock; and he let it remain unchallenged for an entire week. If the SEC doesn't act, expect that some shareholder lawyers will.

Go deeper

Electric car maker relocating to NW Arkansas

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Electric vehicle maker, Canoo, said in its third-quarter earnings call Monday it plans to relocate its headquarters to Bentonville with a research and development center in Fayetteville.

  • The company currently operates in California and Texas.

Why it matters: Electric vehicles are the next big frontier industry. One EV maker in NWA could lead to the development of ancillary companies and the formation of an electric mobility hub.

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.