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!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

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!

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!

Volvo

Elon Musk, the showy CEO of Tesla, will begin production of his much-discussed mainstream-priced Model 3 electric car on Friday, beating his schedule by two weeks, but Chinese-owned Volvo today sought to upstage him with the announcement that it will stop introducing new fully combustion vehicles next year.

The Wall Street Journal's William Boston reports that Volvo will introduce only fully electric or hybrid battery-and-combustion cars as of the 2019 model year, the beginning of a phase-out of combustion-only. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson was light on details apart from reiterating Volvo's previous vow to sell 1 million electrics and hybrids a year by 2025. But the early abandonment of conventional cars is stunning. Bloomberg's energy geopolitics writer Javier Blas tweets, "First major automaker to go all electric / hybrid — this will cause concern from Saudi Arabia to Exxon Mobil."

Why it matters: Volvo's move vastly escalates the commercial and geopolitical contest to dominate electric cars, a warning shot at Detroit and rivals across the globe that they may have to be bold if they want to compete in the new age of transportation.

Until now, Musk's Tesla has seemed to hold the inside track in what may be an evolving global transformation to electric cars. And, since Volvo isn't yet out with its big electric play, he arguably still does. On Friday, he will begin production of the $35,000, 200-mile Model 3, which already has some 370,000 pre-orders by buyers who paid $1,000 each up front for a reservation. The first cars will reach buyers on July 28, and Musk has said he will be making 500,000 of them next year, which few people believe but demonstrates yet again his habit of pushing the bounds of the possible.

  • An iPhone moment? GM is actually the first mover, launching its all-electric, 238-mile Bolt in December. But the Bolt's relatively timid, low-key rollout has relegated the proving moment to Tesla — will the Model 3, as Musk's body language has suggested, be the next iPhone, the irresistible, viral tech product that causes every rival to throw conniption fits and to utterly change their business plans?
  • Oil companies are throwing cold water: The major oil companies continue to cast doubt on a mass electric car market, forecasting that pure electrics will hold just a few single-digit percentage points of the new car market as far in the future as 2040, mainly because they will continue to cost too much.
  • But costs are dropping: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a renewable energy research house, predicts that electrics account for 35% of new car sales by 2040. We will soon begin to get a picture of who is right, but BNEF says that the main reason is that electrics will reach cost parity with conventional vehicles by the middle of the next decade.
  • The party will be large: BNEF's Colin McKerracher suggests that Tesla won't dominate electrics the way that Apple is synonymous with the smart phone. "To get EVs to scale you'll need to have lots of the major [carmakers] on board," he tells Axios. "The Model 3 is a good spark, but you'll need all those vehicles from other manufacturers to really get the fire going."

Go deeper

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under scrutiny for elite club affiliations

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in February. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Image

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement Wednesday that he is a member of an exclusive Rhode Island sailing club that lacks diversity.

Why it matters: Whitehouse has repeatedly spoken out against systemic racism and come under scrutiny this week for his family's affiliation with elite clubs. This is the second such club accused of lacking diversity that the senator has been linked to in recent days

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

3 hours ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.