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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The huge automaker Stellantis — whose brands include Dodge, Peugeot, Jeep, Citroën, Opel and more — is pouring over $35 billion into vehicle electrification efforts through 2025, it announced Thursday.

  • They include an EV from Dodge, the North American performance division, coming in 2024. (Slogan: "Tear Up the Streets… Not the Planet.")

Why it matters: The company, formed via the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and PSA Group, is the world's fourth-largest automaker.

  • But FCA had been slower than some other behemoths to launch headlong into EVs. Former boss Sergio Marchionne, who died in 2018, was an outspoken EV critic.
  • The announcement adds to the list of automakers including GM, Ford, VW and others with EV programs running into the tens of billions of dollars.

The big picture: "It’s now clear the world’s largest automakers are in an intense battle to rapidly deploy this tech and capture EV market share as the world pivots toward electric drivetrains and away from internal combustion engines," iSeeCars.com analyst Karl Brauer said.

Driving the news: Here are some highlights of the plan, based on their release and coverage of the rollout...

  • Electrified models of various types (not all fully electric) across its 14 brands, supported by four separate manufacturing platforms for vehicles of different sizes.
  • Per CNBC, a target of 40 all-electric models and 15 plug-in hybrids in Europe and the U.S. by 2025.
  • There's a Ram electric pickup coming in 2024, while Stellantis is also planning various electric models for brands focused on Europe and other markets.
  • Stellantis hopes to have 70% of European sales and 40% of U.S. sales from "low emission" vehicles by 2030, which per AP means fully electric or plug-in models.
  • They plan to source batteries and components from five "gigafactories" in Europe and North America.

The intrigue: The industry is making big bets on tech that remains a very small — albeit growing — share of the market.

  • It's rooted in a mix of tightening regulations in Europe and likely the U.S., pressure to act on climate change, pro-EV policies in China (the world's largest auto market), and wider global plans to transition away from traditional cars.
  • For Stellantis, the large European-focused side of the merged company is important to its new EV plan, Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs tells Axios.
  • "Electrification is a lot more important in Europe than it is in the U.S.," she said, citing emissions regulations and growing consumer incentives.

Yes, but: But nobody has a perfect crystal ball or anything close on how quickly the EV future will arrive.

  • "They [Stellantis] are behind, but I am a bit skeptical about those way out there in front too," Krebs said.
  • She notes that batteries won't become the dominant propulsion system any time soon, certainly not this decade.

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Bezos beats Branson in space billionaires' battle for attention

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh (Anadolu Agency), Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' flight into space generated more interest from the public than Richard Branson's, and both billionaires overshadowed their respective space companies.

Why it matters: Data shows an outsized public interest in the personalities at the center of the space trips, compared to the companies behind them — which could reinforce public suspicion that the ventures were partly vanity plays.

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Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.