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Rebecca Donaghe, left, and Emme Hall ahead of the off-road challenge. Photo: Rivian

Electric truck startup Rivian must have a lot of confidence in its product to enter the very first vehicle to roll off the assembly line into a grueling, 10-day off-road challenge.

The state of play: Rivian's R1T pickup is also the first fully electric vehicle to compete in the Rebelle Rally, an all-female, off-road rally that kicked off Thursday.

  • Competitors may use only a compass and a map — no smartphone or other GPS device — to navigate the 1,200-mile, secret route through the desert of California and Nevada.
  • Points are awarded for navigational accuracy, not fastest time.
  • Off-road enthusiast Emme Hall, an editor at CNET's Roadshow website, and teammate Rebecca Donaghe will pilot the Rivian.

The intrigue: If running an electric truck with 400 miles of driving range across 1,200 miles of desert sounds a bit problematic, consider this:

  • The Rebelle Rally partnered with Utah-based Power Innovations to provide 175-kilowatt fast-charging stations along the rally route, and to power the Rebelle base camp, reports Roadshow.

Dispatch from Day One, via a Rivian spokeswoman:

  • "First factory-built vehicle, though still a validation prototype. A little risky but fun too."

Go deeper: You can track the Rebelle Rally here.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Why going electric makes sense for ride-hailing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Deploying electric vehicles instead of gasoline-powered models for services like Uber and Lyft provides outsized climate benefits compared to emissions cuts from electric vehicles for only personal use, per a peer-reviewed study in Nature Energy.

Why it matters: The analysis, based on California data, follows explosive growth in ride-hailing in recent years — and evidence that it's cannibalizing more climate-friendly mass transit.

45 mins ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
50 mins ago - Economy & Business

GameStop as a metaphor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A half-forgotten and unprofitable videogame retailer is, bizarrely and incredibly, on the lips of the nation. That's because the GameStop story touches on economic and cultural forces that affect everyone, whether they own a single share of stock or not.

Why it matters: In most Wall Street fights, the broader public doesn't have a rooting interest. This one — where a group of small traders won a multi-billion-dollar bet against giant hedge funds by buying stock in GameStop — is different.