It’s a September afternoon in 2022, and a small fleet of Volkswagen ID.4 EV SUVs are zipping in and out of a blue structure outside of a shopping center in Washington, DC. Families, couples, and individual car shoppers are curiously checking out signs with the VW and Alexa logos and a flag that reads: “Test Drive With Alexa.” There isn’t a salesperson in sight. Instead, consumers are buckling into the ID.4 on their own and taking off in the vehicle for a solo test-drive, with Alexa as their only onboard companion.
This is one of the first-ever Test Drive With Alexa activations from the Amazon Ads Brand Innovation Lab, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Volkswagen. The program allows customers in select regions to take Alexa-guided test-drives of Volkswagen’s ID.4 EV SUV. When participants arrive for their reserved test-drive time, they’ll receive a brief introduction to the car by an event specialist before taking the ID.4 for a solo spin. During their drive, the drivers get a feel for the ID.4 and can ask Alexa for more information on the many functions of the electric vehicle (EV).
For example, if drivers asked about the ID.4 battery, Alexa would respond: “The ID.4 is powered by an 82-kilowatt hour, 400-volt lithium-ion battery, providing an EPA-estimated range of up to 240 miles per charge1, depending your driving habits and vehicle condition.” And when drivers are done exploring in the new car, they could ask Alexa how to return to the location where the test-drive began. Alexa would simply ask the ID.4 to map a route home. No salesperson needed—just the driver, the car, and Alexa.
“People would show up not sure what to expect from this experience, and they would walk away from the test-drive interested in the car and really delighted. We educated them on their terms,” said Michael Lowenstern, creative director of the Amazon Ads Brand Innovation Lab. “We wanted to give consumers the freedom to drive the car without the obligation to talk to a salesperson sitting next to them for information. That’s where Alexa came in. It’s more of a freeing experience, which people really liked.”