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Photo: Lucid Motors

The electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors has a strategy for drumming up interest in its upcoming Lucid Air luxury vehicle that begins production late this year: ultra-designed retail spaces that offer virtual reality test drives.

Why it matters: The luxury EV market is getting more crowded. Startups like Silicon Valley-based Lucid — a largely unknown brand in what's still a very small market — need a way to differentiate themselves and gain cachet.

The company announced Thursday a "direct-to-consumer" model with planned retail spaces that will "enable customers to experience the brand and its products in locations that underscore its unique design aesthetic."

  • Lucid is also one of several EV players eschewing the traditional dealership model of sales.
  • The company — which is staked with $1 billion from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund — plans to unveil the production version of the car and pricing next month in New York.

What's next: Lucid has one customer studio open in Silicon Valley and plans to open eight more this year in New York, Florida and California.

  • More service centers and studios are slated to open in 2021 in those states as well as Washington, D.C., Chicago and Europe, the company said.
  • The announcements yesterday also touched on other parts of its strategy, like having a fleet of mobile service vans to provide roadside assistance.

Go deeper: The bumpy transition toward electric vehicles

Go deeper

Inequality Index signals October jobs growth for lower-income Americans

Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Polling for the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index suggests that as the Delta variant ebbed over the last month, job security improved for lower-income Americans.

The big picture: As a result of the improving environment, the Inequality Index this month declined to its lowest point since April — reversing a significant spike in September.

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on climate change's threat to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican members of Congress, have criticized the department's treatment of rioters charged with crimes and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony will be his first appearance before the panel.

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