Audi is partnering with e-commerce giant Amazon and VW Group unit Electrify America as the automaker prepares to deliver its first all-electric SUV to U.S. dealerships next year.
The Audi e-tron, which was unveiled Monday night in San Francisco, kicks off the German automaker’s electric vehicle ambitions. The e-tron is the first of three battery-electric vehicles that Audi plans to debut by 2020.
The e-tron SUV joins a growing list of luxury electric vehicles trying to take aim at Tesla. The partnerships with Amazon, Electrify America and utility service Arcadia Power are meant to gird Audi’s bet on EVs.
These days, it’s not enough to produce an all-electric vehicle, even a nice-looking one. Customers considering a switch from gas-powered to electric-powered vehicles or from their Tesla to, say an e-tron, will want access to a network of fast chargers and other conveniences. These partnerships are supposed to making owning an e-tron easier from setting up a home charger and to “fueling up” the electric vehicle when it’s on the road.
The partnership with Amazon will give e-tron owners the option to use Amazon Home Services to prepare their homes for an installation of a home charger. This is Amazon Home Service’s first ever collaboration with an automaker to deliver turn-key in-home charging, according to Amazon.
Amazon Home Services will provide Audi e-tron owners with a place (meaning online) to learn about EV home charging installation and equipment, pricing for electrical services and the ability to schedule an electrician to install an EV charger.
Audi is also offering 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power to e-tron owners over four years through Electrify America’s chargers. By July 2019, this network will include 500 fast-charging sites (completed or under development) the 40 states and 17 metro areas, according to Audi.
That’s still behind Tesla, which has 1,342 fast-charging stations with 11,013 superchargers. But it’s an important start for Audi if it hopes to compete.
In a third partnership announced with Arcadia Power, the digital utility service will allow Audi e-tron owners offset their home electricity consumption with renewable energy. E-tron owners can connect their electricity bill to Arcadia Power and select a renewable energy project to support. Subscribers then receive savings their monthly electricity costs, depending on the project’s energy production, according to Audi.