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Model 3 (Tesla)

With $3 billion in cash in the bank, Tesla said today that it will add to its warchest by selling $1.5 billion in junk bonds to finance its planned surge in production of the mainstream electric Model 3. The rating agencies left their view of the company unchanged, and Tesla shares were steady on the news.

The news is not a surprise — CEO Elon Musk signaled in an earnings call with analysts on Aug. 2 that he might sell bonds to raise cash, and analysts had encouraged him to do so while Tesla's image among investors is strong. Musk unveiled the Model 3 to substantial fanfare on July 28, with 455,000 pre-orders and plans to ramp up to annual production of 500,000 vehicles by the end of next year, and to 1 million by 2020.

Why it matters: The added cash will make Musk's enormously ambitious Model 3 scaleup — not just production of the cars themselves, but a buildup of his Nevada battery "Gigafactory" — more realistic.

One level deeper: The Model 3 is seen as a bellwether of a possible new age of electric cars. Should sales continue at the same clip as the pre-orders — at 500,000 vehicles a year or more — the vehicle could trigger a frenzy among rival carmakers, which are already worried that Musk may capture the lion's share of a new car market.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

4 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

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