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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Equinor, the Norwegian oil-and-gas behemoth, is among two new investors in Volta Energy Technologies, a consortium that provides venture financing to startups seeking breakthroughs in battery technology.

Why it matters: The investment is a major sign of how the world's biggest oil companies are diversifying into low-carbon vehicle and grid tech, even though it remains a small part of their portfolios.

It also signals a major expansion for Volta, which launched in late 2017 and has an agreement with Argonne National Laboratory to help validate promising tech using private funds.

  • It has invested in four startups so far, including Ionic Materials, which is trying to commercialize solid-state batteries, and Conamix, which is developing a system to produce high-energy batteries with electrodes that don't rely on cobalt.

Where it stands: Equinor and the big Korean auto supplier Hanon Systems have both made a 5-year commitment, according to Volta.

  • They join existing Volta backers, which include the utility giant Exelon and the lithium supplier Albemarle, and bring the total funding to $180 million, a spokesperson said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AI and automation are receiving a boost during the coronavirus pandemic that in the short term is creating a new hybrid workforce rather than destroying jobs outright.

The big picture: While the forces of automation and AI will eliminate some jobs and create some new ones, the vast majority will remain but be dramatically changed. The challenge for employers will be ensuring workforces are ready for the effects of technology.