Happy Wednesday! And happy 75th birthday to the songwriter Randy Newman, who's got today's intro tune...
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
ChargePoint, one of the world's biggest players in electric vehicle charging, said Wednesday that it has raised another $240 million dollars — an amount that approaches the nearly $300 million previously raised during its 11-year history.
Why it matters: The money — and who it's from — signal investor and corporate confidence that EVs are an important growth market, even though today they're a tiny share of the global auto market.
New investors include Chevron, utility giant American Electric Power, and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC.
What they're saying: I chatted yesterday with CEO Pasquale Romano, who made the case that money from major institutional investors helps tell the story of where EVs are heading the market.
“These are big funds,” Romano says. “They may lean into an emerging technology, but they are not going to lean into a speculative technology.”
Romano emphasized how a number of automakers are readying to introduce new electric models.
The intrigue: I don't know how much of the $240 million is coming from Chevron Technology Ventures (ChargePoint didn't provide a breakdown).
The big picture: The California-based ChargePoint has a big share of the U.S. charging market and last year announced its expansion into Europe.
Go deeper: Romano has more to say in this interview with Fast Company.
ICYMI: President Trump yesterday issued a vaguely worded threat against General Motors in response to its plan to shutter several plants.
The intrigue: The White House declined requests for comment. But there are two things to keep in mind here...
My thought bubble: One thing to watch is whether Trump's pique affects efforts on Capitol Hill to lift the cap on the EV tax credit.
Speaking of EVs, here are a couple more items worthy of your time...
Axios' Joann Mueller reports that the EV startup Rivian made its debut at the AutoMobility LA show by taking the wraps off 2 new rugged battery-powered models — a pickup truck and a 7-passenger SUV.
MarketWatch, meanwhile, has a look at potential spillover effects of GM's big plant closing announcement. One of them, via a Goldman Sachs analyst note, is the idea that Tesla could snap up a GM facility:
"Goldman analysts wondered if Tesla, which will need more North America production capacity as it plans to make its Model Y crossover in the next couple of years, could work out an agreement with GM."
Crystal ball: Bloomberg took the pulse of analysts and almost all of them agree that OPEC will agree to output curbs at its upcoming meeting, despite pressure from Trump.
Saudi perspective: The Financial Times reports Wednesday that Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom would not cut its oil output alone.
Pre-gaming: There's a bunch of maneuvering ahead of the pivotal OPEC meeting.
State of the market: The Wall Street Journal has a cogent and detailed exploration of why oil prices, which were spiking at the beginning of October and prompting chatter about $100-per-barrel, have taken such a tumble.
A bipartisan handful of House members unveiled a carbon tax plan last night that stands no chance of becoming law, at least not for years. But please keep reading, because...
Why it matters: It's a marker for efforts to move national carbon pricing beyond the think tank and advocacy world, where it has largely been exiled since a big cap-and-trade plan collapsed in the Senate in 2010.
Reality check: Needless to say, those are big caveats. Carbon taxes face opposition from advocacy groups that are influential in GOP circles.
Driving the news: Florida Democrat Ted Deutch unveiled the bill with 2 other Democrats and 2 Republicans. The bill would impose an initial $15-per-ton carbon "fee" on fossil fuel producers, processors and importers.
By the numbers: The plan aims to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 33% from 2015 levels within 10 years and by 90% by 2050. The sponsors say it would create 2.1 million net jobs within 10 years and prevent 13,000 pollution-related deaths annually.
Another reason the bill matters: It's a useful starting point for comparing various legislative proposals floating around.
Where it stands: It has support from some conservative groups pushing carbon taxes as a market-friendly climate policy and some environmental groups.
Very few, if any, Democratic politicians are expected to attend a big United Nations climate conference next week in Poland, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Why it matters: Attending this annual event is often considered a show of commitment to an issue that typically doesn’t get a lot of attention and typically many factors go into whether a politician attends.
The big picture: Climate change has received rare, front-burner status recently, with a trio of dire reports on the matter being released, and Trump continuing to not acknowledge it’s a problem at all. House Democrats also have said they want to prioritize the issue when they take control of the lower chamber.
What’s next: The 2-week negotiations get underway Monday in Katowice, Poland, a small coal-mining city. Negotiators from nearly all countries in the world are working toward more technical agreements governing the 2015 Paris climate accord.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders criticized the new climate report that the Trump administration published on Black Friday, saying Tuesday that its conclusions were "based on the most extreme model scenario" and were not based on "facts."
More via Axios' Andrew Freedman...
The big picture: The report, known as the Fourth National Climate Assessment, warns that the U.S. will suffer increasingly deadly and costly climate change impacts if action isn't taken. In particular, greenhouse gas emissions must be sharply reduced in the next decade, and more aggressive actions should be taken to adapt to extreme weather events and other climate impacts.
ICYMI: On Monday, Trump told reporters he did not believe the report's conclusions, even though the findings were the product of work overseen by scientists and officials in his own administration.
"We think this is the most extreme version, and it's not based on facts. It's not data driven. We'd like to see something that is more data driven. It's based on modeling, which is extremely hard to do when you're talking about the climate."— Sarah Sanders
Reality check: The report does include observational data, everything from the amount of carbon dioxide in the air to the melting rate of Greenland's ice cap, along with cutting-edge computer model scenarios that simulate how climate change may play out.