Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tesla is the company of the moment — the prime exemplar of just about any big and important trend that you might care about.

Why it matters: Almost every reader of finance and business news will have at least one strongly-held opinion about Tesla. What you might not realize is just how widely those opinions range, and the degree to which they map onto much broader views of the world.

Climate

Tesla, especially after its merger with Solar City, sometimes feels like a Utopian project — an attempt to populate a carbon-neutral future with fast, efficient vehicles that don't contribute to global warming.

  • Tesla stands to be a primary beneficiary of Joe Biden's economic policy, should it be enacted. Biden has promised to spend $2 trillion over four years on a plan that includes: creating 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry; generating clean, American-made electricity; and investing in battery technology.
  • Separately, Biden has pledged to buy "tens of billions of dollars of clean vehicles and products."
U.S. economic policy

Tesla has already benefited from the Fed's zero-interest rate policy following the global financial crisis — a policy designed to incentivize capital-intensive investment.

  • Tesla has raised more than $20 billion in debt and equity since inception, almost entirely in years when it was losing money. Easy-money policies made such fundraising possible.
  • $465 million of that debt came in the form of a direct loan from the federal government.
  • Tax breaks for electric vehicles helped drive many of the company's early sales. Tesla also received tax breaks when building its old and new factories.
The product

Capitalists love and fear natural monopolies. Tesla's flagship product — its cars, powered by its batteries, its home-built software, and its network of charging stations — is years ahead of the competition, and is synonymous with "electric vehicle" for many.

  • Tesla has inspired a host of copycats. But so far none of the EV entrepreneurs, nor even the powerful global automakers, has penetrated Tesla's competitive moat.
  • That could change as EV adoption approaches a tipping point in the next few years, says Axios' Joann Muller, but for now, Tesla is the undisputed king of EVs.

The one thing Tesla hasn't made, despite many years' worth of promises that it was just around the corner, is a self-driving car. That hasn't stopped the company from advertising a feature called "autopilot."

The billionaire economy

Depending on whom you talk to, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the archetypal cartoon-villain billionaire — or else he's the archetypal planet-saving billionaire.

  • Musk is crude, obnoxious, and worth $70 billion; journalists cross him at their peril. He delights in his status as provocateur, and has never encountered a rule he didn't want to break. All of this makes him very popular among would-be disrupters.

Go deeper: Tesla goes from electric vehicle to gambling vehicle

Go deeper

Oct 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Misperceptions may be holding consumers back from buying electric vehicles

Photo by picture alliance via Getty

Analysts and investors are getting ever more bullish on electric vehicles, but with little regard, it seems, for consumer attitudes.

Why it matters: Tightening regulations around the world could indeed shove the vehicle market toward electrics more quickly than expected. But if consumers are reluctant to buy, automakers will have to slash prices and absorb the losses, erasing investors' rosy hopes.

Updated 32 mins ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.