Photo: Skip

Portland, a city known for investing in public transit and promoting alternatives to cars, has granted permits to scooter-sharing startups Skip and Bird as part of a four-month pilot program.

Why it matters: This could be a great test of whether a huge cash pile proves as much an advantage in the scooter wars as it did for Uber in the ride-hailing race. In this case, Bird is the wealthy competitor.

  • To date, Bird has raised more than $415 million in funding, while Skip has raised just $31 million.

Caveat: After the initial 200 scooters per firm deploy in the Portland pilot's first week, Bird is allowed up to 680 while Skip only gets up to 450, which may skew how the companies perform and how popular they prove. Moreover, Portland may grant permits to two more companies it is reviewing, according to a spokesman for the Bureau of Transportation, and that would change the head-to-head dynamic, too.

What’s next: San Francisco, which ordered all scooters off the streets in June while it reviews permit applications for its own pilot program, recently said it plans to issue its decision in August. Unlike Portland, San Francisco saw a number of scooter companies rush to roll vehicles out on the streets before the city could enact regulations.

Go deeper

Florida fully lifts coronavirus restrictions on restaurants

Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday the state will completely reopen its economy, allowing restaurants at operate full capacity and barring localities from ordering businesses to close.

Why it matters: The state became one of the world's epicenters for the virus in July, forcing DeSantis to pause its first round of reopening.

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Eyeing the end of gas-powered cars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Gasoline-powered cars may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, even if it will take decades to replace them and seems hard to fathom today.

The big picture: Internal combustion engines (ICEs) have powered automobiles for more than 100 years. But the shift to electric vehicles, slow to materialize at first, is now accelerating due to tightening government policies, falling costs and a societal reckoning about climate change.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

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