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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Several new developments in early 2019 provide a glimpse into the next wave of automakers' accelerating preparation for the mainstreaming of electric vehicles.

Driving the news: Ford and Volkswagen are on the cusp of announcing a major partnership at next week's Detroit Auto Show that includes EVs and autonomous vehicles, Reuters first reported.

  • General Motors said Wednesday that it's collaborating with the EV charging networks EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots "so owners of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV can have a more seamless charging experience."
  • Infiniti plans to unveil its QX Inspiration electric crossover concept in Detroit.
  • Nissan unveiled an upgraded, longer-range version of its electric Leaf at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.
  • “The future of Volkswagen will be decided in the Chinese market,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen. VW is spearheading a $300 billion spend on EVs with more than half targeting China. (Per Reuters and h/t to Dion Rabouin in Axios Markets)

The potentially big Ford and VW announcement is aimed partly at managing the costs of EV and AV tech, various reports point out.

  • Per Reuters, it could involve Ford licensing VW's modular EV platform.
  • It represents an expansion of previous plans to cooperate on commercial vehicles.

Why it matters: Both auto giants have ambitious EV plans — including Ford’s goal of launching 16 fully electric models in the next few years, while VW has been pivoting to EVs in the wave of its diesel scandal.

My thought bubble: Both companies are trying to gain ground on Tesla, as well as some legacy automakers in the EV space, so collaboration makes sense as they try and close the gap.

What they're saying: "If VW is able to use Ford’s development in autonomy and if Ford is able to use Volkswagen’s development in electrification, it’s not just the cost savings that is important — and that would be big — but it's getting products to the market much, much faster," auto expert John McElroy tells the Detroit Free Press.

What's next: Look for more EV-related announcements around next week's auto show.

Go deeper: Building trust in automated vehicles is a two-way street

Editor's note: This piece was corrected to show Reuters reported VW is spearheading a $300 billion spend on EVs (not $300 million).

Go deeper

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

1 hour ago - World

North Korea's military fires another ballistic missile into sea

A woman in Seoul, South Korea, walks past a television image if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired at least one ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.