Like The Eggplant That Ate Chicago, Amazon is making plans to consume the entire world of retail sales. Whether they are chairs from China, fashions from France, or potatoes from Pocatello, Amazon aims to dominate the world of retail. It even is pushing its way into delivery services, having just inked a deal with Mercedes to buy 20,000 Sprinter vans to bring products purchased online to people’s doors. In the near future, there may be only three corporations in the entire world — Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Audi has just begun regular production of its e-tron electric SUV and some of those will be headed to America soon. But e-tron customers will need a way to charge their shiny new Audis at home. There are dozens of home chargers on the market and unless you are really handy with wiring, each one will need to be installed by a licensed electrician.
There are building permits to apply for if upgrades to the home’s electrical service are required. After the installation is complete, a visit from a local building official may be necessary. All of these arrangements take time. But Audi has teamed up with Amazon to simplify the process. A few mouse clicks, and the whole process will be taken care of with a minimum of hassle. Amazon will also have online tutorials to educate consumers about the process.
Audi is also offering e-tron owners 1,000 kWh of free electricity over 4 years if they use the fast charging network being constructed by Electrify America. That network will have 500 fast charging sites either completed or under development in 40 states and 17 metropolitan areas by July, 2019, according to Audi. Electrify America and Audi are both part of Volkswagen group.
Audi is also partnering with Arcadia Power, a company that allows consumers to choose renewable energy for their domestic use no matter where they live. If green power is not physically available in a given area, Arcadia uses renewable energy credits to offset the emissions impact of the local power generators. The link with Arcadia will help e-tron owners to charge their cars with the greenest energy available.
Does any of this mean Audi and Volkswagen are close to catching up to Tesla and its Supercharger network? No. Tesla has a 6 year head start. But at least Audi and parent Volkswagen are thinking about the issue, something most other legacy manufacturers haven’t gotten around to yet.
If Tesla gets a 10 for helping its customers install home chargers easily and have access to high-power chargers while travelling, Audi and Volkswagen get only a 2. OK, maybe a 3. But it’s a start. Things can only get better from here.
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