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Climate change

Volkswagen’s all-electric ride-sharing service is part of its comeback campaign

Three years after the carmaker’s notorious emissions scandal, its new focus on electric vehicles is as much an effort to repair its image as it is a bet on the future of the automotive industry.

Some background: In 2015 it was uncovered that as many as 11 million VW diesel cars were emitting high levels of the pollutants that cause smog. The company has been digging itself out from under a mountain of negative press ever since.

Plugging in: The carmaker announced yesterday that it will be launching an all-electric ride-sharing service called WE in Germany next year. It will be in direct competition with Uber and Lyft, and there are plans to expand to other countries in 2020.

Speeding ahead: Last month, an electric Volkswagen set a new record in the intense Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It beat the previous mark (held by a gas-powered rally car) by 17 seconds.

Why it matters: VW wants its brand to be associated with clean energy—as opposed to law-breaking, emission-spewing cars—and it’s especially focused on regaining trust in its home country, Germany.

Deep Dive

Climate change

These three charts show who is most to blame for climate change

Getting to the bottom of which countries have contributed most to climate change is complicated, but a few pieces of data can help.

Inside Alphabet X’s new effort to combat climate change with seagrass

A previously unrevealed program would use cameras, computer vision, and machine learning to track the carbon stored in the biomass of the oceans.

Power beaming comes of age

How power beaming could change the way we power everything from satellites to mobile phones and reduce carbon emissions.

Super-hot salt could be coming to a battery near you

New battery chemistries can help unlock more renewable energy for the grid.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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