Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

GM appears to be serious about their zero-emissions vision: the company is shifting 75% of its powertrain engineers from internal-combustion engines to electric vehicle development as it prepares to unleash of wave of EVs under the Cadillac brand.

The big picture: GM CEO Mary Barra has laid out a blueprint for shifting to electric, self-driving cars — a world, she says, with "zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion." That will require shifting resources to AV and EV development — at a time when GM is closing factories and laying off 15,000 workers, triggering the wrath of President Trump.

What's happening: In a meeting with investors this morning, GM is expected to share more details about its next-generation of electric vehicles — 20 EV or fuel cell powered models to be released by 2023.

  • They'll be based on a flexible EV architecture, enabling many body styles in front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations.
  • Most of the EVs will be introduced as Cadillacs, a chance to position the iconic-but-tarnished luxury brand once again as a tech leader.
  • The first model, a Cadillac crossover utility, will debut in 2021.
  • A big focus will be on China, Cadillac's top-selling market.
  • Eventually, Buick, GMC and Chevrolet will share the electric vehicle architecture.

What we're hearing: GM President Mark Reuss is doubling the resources dedicated to EVs and AVs — not dollars, but brainpower.

  • Its Cruise Automation self-driving unit is reporting progress on the AV front: CTO Kyle Vogt tweeted video of its driverless cars easily handling complex traffic in San Francisco ahead of this year's launch of a commercial robo-taxi service.

The bottom line: Today 75% of GM's 4,000 powertrain engineers work on internal combustion engine technology, and 25% work on EVs. Soon, those numbers will be reversed.

Go deeper

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

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Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

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Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

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