I’m a few days into my week with the Nissan Leaf. It’s a fun car; I can say that much so far. My plan later today is to test the range by driving in increasingly smaller circles around my house until the battery is nearly depleted. A full review is coming next week, but until then, here’s a quick look at the simple Leaf iOS owner’s app.
Nissan launched the iOS app launched alongside the Leaf electric vehicle and features several critical functions and abilities to enhance the driver’s experience. This app allows the owner to schedule a charge, remotely turn on the heat or AC, and, most importantly, see the available range. It’s currently only available on iOS but I was told by a Nissan rep that an Android flavor is in the works and should be available soon.
Automakers are cautiously embracing smartphones, slowing poking and prodding the devices to see what happens. The thought here is that since these cars are connected to the Internet, why not leverage that connectivity in the name of consumer friendliness. GM debuted its line of smartphone apps with the Chevy Volt and is systemically bringing it to other brands and models. The MyFord Mobile app was introduced at CES 2011 where it helped earn the 2012 Focus The Official Car of CES.
These sort of apps will likely become standard as older vehicles systems retire and new, connected powertrains are introduced. It will be slow process as automakers are not going to dump tons of R&D into adding the functions to existing platforms when new, more evolved systems are in the pipeline anyway. Eventually though, even your grandparent will be able to start up their Toyota from afar.