Updated Aug 26, 2018

In our earbuds: Venture capital and electric buses

An electric bus in Denver. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The latest episode of the Experts Only podcast from CleanCapital is an interesting chat with Nancy Pfund, a veteran investor in clean energy companies.

The big picture: The interview ranges from her background in the industry to opportunities for applying advanced grid technologies in Africa.

At one point, Pfund, a founder of DBL Partners, muses about the intersection of clean energy startups and U.S. policy:

  • "Most entrepreneurs, especially 10 years ago, weren’t really interested in policy. In fact, many of them don’t like it. They are entrepreneurs for a reason — to be unfettered, and go after that marketplace opportunity."
  • "However, what I have seen and been encouraged by is that the smart entrepreneurs, as soon as they realize that, oh, there is a public utility commission or there is the investment tax credit that gets voted on in Washington, they are quick learners."
  • "Even though many of them still don’t like it, the best of them embraced it, or hired people that would embrace it, and so it has been an education for many, and for all of us really. We had no idea how politicized this field would become."

Another good listen is this new interview with Ryan Popple, the CEO of the major electric bus manufacturer Proterra, who was previously with the heavyweight VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

  • He appears on Watt It Takes, a podcast that's a collaboration between Greentech Media and Powerhouse, a co-working space and seed fund in California.
  • Why it matters: The growing use of electric passenger buses by local governments offers a way to cut transportation sector emissions of carbon dioxide and traditional pollutants.

At one point in the wide-ranging chat, Popple discusses the prospects for the electrification of other heavy-duty vehicle sectors and how his company could play a role:

  • "I also want to see Proterra helping the rest of the heavy-duty vehicle sector get off of diesel faster. I don’t necessarily want Proterra to take on too much too fast, but there is stuff that we have figured out in buses that applies almost drag-and-drop into other big, heavy vehicles that start and stop all the time."
  • "I hope that five years from now, in whatever way we can, whether it is hardware of software, we are also supporting the beginnings of a really vibrant school bus market, for example."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.