May 29, 2019

A mysterious electric vehicle company eyes GM's Lordstown plant

A sign outside the GM Lordstown plant. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

A plan from Workhorse, a little-known electric vehicle company, to launch production at the shuttered GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio is hardly a sure thing, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The plan, announced in early May with few details, is bound up in the politics of GM's controversial restructuring and layoffs. President Trump raised the deal's profile by tweeting about it, getting ahead of GM's disclosure of plans to sell the plant to an entity that includes Workhorse as a minority owner.

But, but, but: Via NYT, "The new venture, whose name remains secret, exists almost entirely on paper. Headed by the founder and former chief executive of Workhorse, Steve Burns, the business would have to raise at least $300 million to get Lordstown running again."

The intrigue: Burns declined to tell NYT whether he's raised money. Workhorse, meanwhile, is "barely hanging on" and had less than $3 million in cash at the end of March, the paper reports.

  • The 12-year-old company has actually built vehicles — just 365 — the Times said, noting "most of the Workhorse trucks made so far are in use at UPS."

Meanwhile: "General Motors, America's largest automaker, and Bechtel, the country's largest construction company, are teaming up to build thousands of electric vehicle fast-charging stations across the United States," CNN reports.

  • Wider fast-charging deployment is important in building consumers' confidence in EVs, which are now a tiny slice of the market.

Go deeper: GM confirms talks to sell Lordstown plant to Workhorse

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

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Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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