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Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

In addition to possible competition from Lucid, an electric vehicle startup that will receive more than $1 billion from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund (PIF), Tesla is still trying to repair damage from CEO Elon Musk's self-inflicted wounds.

Why it matters: Tesla is in one of the rockiest stretches of its 15-year history as it seeks to show consistent and well-executed Model 3 production increases and to make good on Musk's promise of imminent profitability.

Driving the news: Just hours after the PIF announced its investment into Lucid, there was news that a British cave diver who played a role in rescuing the Thai boys soccer team is suing Musk over his baseless accusations of pedophilia.

Threat level: The lawsuit underscores how Musk's erratic behavior is a distraction at a critical time. And this is compounded by the continued fallout from the going-private fiasco, which has brought an SEC inquiry over Musk's claim that he had "funding secured."

The intrigue: Via The Washington Post, "The lawsuit could amplify calls for Tesla to install a high-ranking executive or co-captain who could keep Musk’s more self-destructive instincts in check."

The big picture: On the competitive side, don't forget that Tesla is by far the biggest player in the U.S. EV market today and has lots of European growth potential.

  • Nonetheless, the Lucid news shows how the EV field is getting more crowded as startups and legacy automakers — like Audi — plan new models at various price points.

A couple of noteworthy pieces about Tesla's competitive position:

  • Over in Bloomberg's opinion section, Liam Denning writes, "Lucid’s funding is a reminder that Tesla has a target on its back." He notes that despite Tesla's powerful U.S. position, "operational snafus mean it isn’t capitalizing on the current window of opportunity the way it was supposed to."
  • Yes, but: Per MarketWatch: "Tesla Inc. faces no competition at present, and when it does it will be able to hold its own, analysts at Bernstein said in a note Monday. ... What should keep Tesla investors worried? Execution rather than competition, the Bernstein analysts said."

Go deeper: Potential Tesla rival Lucid Motors makes its move.

Go deeper

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
29 mins ago - Science

Spaceflight contests and our future in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wealthy private citizens are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who can go to space — and some of them want to bring the average person along for the ride.

Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.

1 hour ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.