Who is the winner in NEXT-GEN Mobility?


There is no question about it, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has created a great atmosphere of optimism with its report last Monday. It calls for more efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Two months before the next UN climate summit, the researchers warn of what can happen with a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius – and even more with two degrees. In the middle of the week, the EU environment ministers agreed to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of new cars by 35 percent between 2020 and 2030. So much for the news from research and politics for NEXT-GEN Mobility in our country.

Who is the big winner among the NEXT-GEN Mobility providers?

Now, especially in view of the rapid developments in mobility, I am repeatedly asked who will be the big winner among all the mobility providers. After all, transport is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the energy industry. The classic German OEMs in particular groan under the old diesel load. Electrified vehicles are coming onto the market very late. But innovators such as Tesla & Co. are also groaning under the challenges of production and logistics for the ever faster world market.

Those who now rely on start-ups are just as disappointed so far. The German industry portal Gründerszene commented that start-ups have little idea as a response to impending driving bans. Sharing services, ridepooling or even air taxis are rather a ‘pious wish of the mobility service providers’. Not really a real alternative to part with one’s own private vehicle. At least in the near future.

Almost lost in the glamour of the e-tron launch

The question remains: does he actually exist, a clear winner among the providers of Next-Generation Mobility. For me, the answer is clear and it’s Amazon. Why Amazon again?

Well, a little lost in the glitter of the launch of the new Audi e-tron vehicles last week is an announcement of a sales partnership between Audi and the American online giant Amazon. The Ingolstadt-based automaker has teamed up with Inc. to install home chargers for e-tron buyers. A home charger is expected to cost around ]
,000, and Tesla is currently charging 0 in the US for its version. Let’s take a closer look at the effects of such an Amazon sales addition to Audi e-tron from Ingolstadt.

Does this look like a revolution?

On the surface, the sale of charging stations at Amazon does not sound like a revolution in the e-mobility segment. For experts in the mobility scene, however, the cost of charging electric vehicles is one of the main obstacles to their breakthrough in the market.

Amazon’s entry will significantly improve the availability of charging stations and may even pose a major threat to the largest oil market. Bloomberg notes in a commentary “the fossil fuel industry should be worried that a company like Amazon is invading its territory”.

Amazon and the household charging station

Amazon currently offers home charging stations from well-known manufacturers such as ChargePoint, Siemens, Heidelberg and others. However, in addition to the pure offer of a charging station on its platform, Amazon intends to participate in the installation process. This was the announcement made at the launch of the e-tron. In future, the installations will be replaced by Amazon Home Services, a marketplace for activities such as cleaning services and DIY work. It will not be difficult to add electrical work in combination with the sale of charging stations.

Audis Tesla challenger to charge its batteries in the garage at home

Back to Audi, because here Amazon actually appears as a partner in the e-tron itself. In addition to selling the charging stations, Audi has integrated the Amazon voice service Alexa into the multi-media interface system (MMI) e-tron as a connectivity solution. The driver does not need an app on the smartphone to use it, nor does he have to pair it with the car. It is sufficient to connect the car to his Amazon account, after which the service can be started via the onboard voice control.

“The integration of Alexa into our infotainment system was the next logical step,” explains Thomas Müller, Head of Electrics/Electronics at Audi. The vision is to bring Alexa to customers wherever they are – at home, at work and on the road,” says Ned Curic, Managing Director of Alexa Auto.

“With the Smart Home control, doors in the house can be locked, lighting controlled and the garage door closed directly from the car – all with just a short voice command or a question,” Audi advertises in a press release. As soon as the driver has pronounced the keyword “Alexa”, his requests reach the Amazon servers and the LTE module in the MMI system establishes a connection via an Audi backend.

Alexa, can you charge my car?

The real killer application is the combination of Alexa and a charging station delivered via Amazon. Nathaniel Bullard of Bloomberg New Energy Finance listed such a practical solution at a London conference. Amazon can thus radically make EV ownership more attractive. What if Alexa could start charging my car when electricity prices are low? “Alexa, please charge my car!”

Audi and Amazon are thus taking a big step forward in terms of intuitively usable infotainment for their e-tron vehicle. In addition to the e-tron, other Audi models will also be supported in the future.

However, the full significance of Amazon’s success can be seen from this: Audi’s sister companies from the VW Group Seat and Skoda and other OEMs such as BMW, Ford and Toyota have already integrated Amazon’s Alexa. The big winner in NEXT-GEN Mobility will be Amazon, thanks to intelligent partnerships and all its distribution power.

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