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The production version of the VW ID.3. Courtesy: VW

Volkswagen took the wraps off its ID.3 electric vehicle — one that will be available in Europe and starts at roughly $33,000 for the base model — just ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show yesterday.

Why it matters: The compact EV, which will start deliveries in mid-2020, could be a big step toward production of moderately priced battery-powered cars for a mass market.

  • "Everything about the ID.3, from its size and styling to its battery range and pricing, is aiming for the mass-market category," TechCrunch notes.
  • It's the first vehicle built on VW's electric modular production platform.
  • That's the system that Ford, under a recent agreement with VW, plans to use for building 600,000 EVs for delivery in Europe over the next 6 years.

What they're saying: IHS Markit analyst Tim Urquhart, in a note, says the stakes are very high for the German automaker.

  • "VW needs the ID.3 to present a compelling choice for buyers that would never before have even considered buying an EV, a true electric people’s car," he said.
  • Urquhart also notes that the 4-door hatchback is the tip of the spear for VW's "hugely ambitious" EV strategy, so it "needs to be 'right' straight out of the box," without quality glitches.

Meanwhile, the auto news site Jalopnik calls it "likely their most significant car in decades."

Of note: While it's not for sale in the U.S., the automaker plans to start selling an MEB-produced ID Crozz, a crossover vehicle, here next year (and more info seems to be trickling out this morning).

By the numbers: The vehicle's battery options start at 45 kilowatt hours (kWh) with a range of 205 miles.

  • There's also a 58 kWh version with a 260-mile range, and a 77 kWh battery pack that provides up to about 342 miles of range, VW said.

What's next: There's plenty on display — from production-ready cars to concepts — at the show that opens this week, including the production-version of the Honda E.

Go deeper: Billion-dollar bets on electric vehicles await payoff

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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