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1 big thing: The lowdown on Tesla's wild ride

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Hannibal Hanschke-Pool/Getty Images

The dust is still settling on Tesla's wild and confusing Friday, so here's a little more chatter rolling in while everyone waits for more clarity, Ben writes.

What they're saying: Deutsche Bank analysts outlined the pros and cons involved if CEO Elon Musk is indeed shelving plans for a cheap ($25k-ish) electric vehicle model.

  • While Musk has vaguely denied Reuters' bombshell, Deutsche calls it plausible the "Model 2" is pushed to the back burner, given the challenges of ramping up battery capacity and competition from China at even lower prices.
  • The bull case for Tesla reportedly putting its eggs in the robotaxi basket is its AI and software advantages. That "would avoid going down the rabbit hole of bruising global competition for the cheapest EV."
  • (Sorry for the mixed metaphors here.)

Why it matters: I'm not just writing about Tesla for clicks! It's the world's leading EV seller, albeit one that's facing multiple challenges.

  • Plus, its decisions are a rough guide on how the firm sees competition from Chinese low-cost EV makers.

Reality check: Bloomberg's Liam Denning took a skeptical view about the latest Tesla drama and Musk's pledge to unveil a robotaxi on Aug. 8.

  • Pointing to a new shiny thing may be a way to divert attention from Tesla's recent rough patch, Denning argues.
  • Remember that Tesla began last week by reporting a sharp decline in sales that were lower than even Wall Street's downgraded guesses.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank's Emmanuel Rosner and colleagues suggest that a focus on the robotaxi, at the expense of a Model 2, makes Tesla a riskier bet.

  • Leaving the company with no new consumer models in the foreseeable future would put continued downward pressure on its volume and pricing for many more years.
  • Plus, they and others like Ross Gerber, the investment adviser and Tesla shareholder, note regulatory and tech risks with autonomy.

The intrigue: Tesla's share price is way down this year but has more than recovered from Friday's swoon on the Model 2 report.

The bottom line: Never a dull moment.

2. Breaking: A landmark climate ruling

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Europe's highest human rights court today sided with a group of 2,000 Swiss women over 64 years old who sued their government for not doing enough to combat climate change, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

Why it matters: It's a landmark ruling that helps to determine to what extent almost all European countries violate the human rights of their citizens by not adequately mitigating the effects of climate change.

Catch up quick: The group claimed that the Swiss government's inadequate climate policies violate their right to life and other guarantees under the European Convention on Human Rights.

  • Only senior women joined the lawsuit because people 55 and older face an increased risk of dying from heat-related illnesses, and older women specifically are more at risk to heat than older men.

The big picture: The case was before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which handles alleged violations of rights set out in the convention.

  • The court's jurisdiction spans almost every country in Europe except for Vatican City, Belarus and Russia.

Read the whole story

3. Dimon dings Biden on LNG pause

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon speaks during a Senate hearing in Washington in 2023. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon is coming out guns blazing against the White House's pause on new liquefied natural gas export licenses, Ben writes.

Why it matters: He's not just another Wall Street exec with a bank that's heavily invested in fossil fuels (though yes, he's that too); Dimon also has the ear of politicians in both parties.

What's new: His latest annual shareholder letter devotes considerable space to bashing the LNG policy.

  • Dimon calls it a political decision to appease activists who want to thwart oil and gas projects.
  • He says it's "enormously naive" and argues LNG cuts CO2 by displacing coal. (Note: the climate impacts of LNG are debatable.)
  • The pause is also geopolitical folly and puts gas-reliant U.S. allies in a tough spot, he writes.

"They may have to look elsewhere for such supplies, [turning] to Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates or maybe even Russia," Dimon writes.

The other side: Biden officials emphasize that exports will keep surging regardless, thanks to projects already approved and under construction.

The bottom line: The powerful bank's loud opposition adds to existing pressures on President Biden over the decision.

Go deeper: Jamie Dimon's shareholder letter shows glimpse of Pugnacious Neoliberalism

4. The GOP's 2025 energy plans

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

A 2025 GOP roadmap emerging from Capitol Hill offices would upend existing climate and environmental regulation, Axios Pro's Jael Holzman and Nick Sobczyk report.

Why it matters: Recent reports and budget documents show how GOP leaders would try to unite an unfocused party around Trump-centric policy.

Driving the news: Republicans on the Senate's environment committee dropped a report Thursday that outlined a likely shortlist of regulations for repeal if Donald Trump wins:

  • Emissions standards on light-duty cars and heavy-duty trucks
  • EPA's waiver allowing California to get more aggressive on vehicle emissions
  • Greenhouse gas pollution standards on power plants
  • New air quality standards for soot, also called PM2.5
  • The IRA's methane fee rule

Zoom in: The Senate report adds to the policy document that the House Republican Study Committee released last month.

  • It proposes repeal of the IRA's energy tax credits, eliminating DOE's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and slashing EPA's budget.

The bottom line: Wholesale IRA repeal isn't in the cards. But these documents show where Democrats will be on defense if Republicans control Washington.

Unlock the whole story β€” and a steady diet of scoops and smart analysis β€” by talking to our sales team about Axios Pro: Energy Policy.

5. πŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈ Catch up quick: Tech, Shell, Tesla

πŸ‘‹ The Clean Energy Buyers Alliance β€” a group that includes big tech among its members β€” has tapped Rich Powell as its new CEO, Ben writes.

  • Why it matters: His arrival comes as U.S. power demand is rising due to data center growth, manufacturing and other forces β€” and companies face pressure to meet that growth with climate-friendly sources.
  • Catch up quick: Powell comes to CEBA after a decade leading the conservative energy innovation group ClearPath, which announced that chief strategy officer Jeremy Harrell will slide into the top job.

πŸ‘€ Shell isn't ruling out moving its stock listing from London to New York as it seeks a higher valuation, CEO Wael Sawan tells Bloomberg's Javier Blas.

  • State of play: Sawan said the company's current plans don't call for it amid other measures to boost market performance. But the piece delves into whether London is no longer welcoming.
  • The big picture: Blas notes European "investor apathy" to fossil fuels.

βš–οΈ Tesla settled a lawsuit concerning the 2018 crash death of an Apple engineer in Northern California, court documents showed yesterday, Axios' Rebecca Falconer reports.

6. The latest temperature milestone is official

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

March marked the 10th month in a row for the warmest respective month on record, Ben writes.

Driving the news: This morning Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service announced the milestone, making a recent preliminary finding official.

Why it matters: Copernicus is among the most closely watched and respected sources of temperature data.

  • And it's the latest in a string of troubling developments on the climate front.
  • 2023 was the warmest year on record, and global conditions β€” including very warm oceans β€” are worrying scientists.

State of play: Last month was 0.73Β°C above the 1991-2020 average for March, and 1.68Β°C warmer than an estimate of the March average for 1850-1900, "the designated pre-industrial reference period," they said.

  • Overall, the globe's average surface air temperature last month was 14.14Β°C β€” also known as 57.45Β°F for us Americans.

The bottom line: "Stopping further warming requires rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," Copernicus' deputy director Samantha Burgess said in a statement.

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πŸ™ Thanks to Chris Speckhard and Javier E. David for edits to today's edition, along with the brilliant Axios Visuals team.