Audi E-tron gets Alexa support to bolster its high-tech credentialsSeptember 18, 2018
Audi’s new fully electric E-tron SUV will be the car maker’s first vehicle to integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, offering “many” of the same features that you can find on the Amazon Echo smart speaker in North America and Europe.
After linking the car to your Amazon account, you’ll be able to use your voice to issue a standard range of Alexa commands to playback music, access weather information, add items to your to-do list, order food for your arrival, and even control any Alexa-enabled devices you might have at home.
Audi advertises that all of this functionality can be accessed without needing a smartphone; but it doesn’t appear to be entirely hands free. In an advert promoting the functionality, Audi shows a driver pressing a button before uttering the Alexa command. It’s unclear if this needs to done each time, or only once to activate the voice control feature which then awakes with each Alexa command.
The E-tron is not Audi’s first vehicle to offer voice controls (that would be the Audi A8), but it follows the efforts of numerous other car manufacturers including BMW, Ford, VW (Audi’s parent company), and Toyota in building in support for Amazon’s robust voice assistant and ecosystem of Alexa Skills.
Amazon released its Alexa Auto SDK just over a month ago, allowing manufacturers like Audi to offer this deeper level of integration with Alexa.
Audi’s partnership with Amazon also includes a deal to provide home installations of car chargers. Reuters reports that for the price of around $1,000, Amazon will deliver the charging hardware to your home and hire electricians through Amazon Home Services to install it.
The Audi E-tron will be available from mid-2019 with a starting price of $75,795 pre-tax credit. Although it hasn’t yet disclosed exact range estimates, it promises that it should exceed a range of 400km (248 miles) thanks to its 95kWh battery that comes second only in size to the highest-end Tesla Model X 100D’s battery.