Fly a little higher, Carwings. Nissan has been using the communication system as a way for drivers of the battery-electric Leaf to do things like use a smartphone start the charging process remotely, check the charging status or find nearby charging stations. The service was one of the tools Nissan was offering to newbie drivers of the first US mass-produced electric vehicle to better familiarize themselves with ideas like recharging your car from miles away.

Now, three-plus years into the model's lifetime, Nissan is looking to get more out of Carwings, Wards Auto says, citing Nissan North America executive Robyn Williams. Specifically, Nissan is hoping Carwings will eventually be able to communicate information about the battery's health, or lack thereof (i.e. degradation) to the driver. That issue was made clear a couple of years ago when Leaf drivers in hot-weather locales such as Arizona said their batteries were losing capacity at a faster rate than advertised. Nissan North America spokesman Brian Brockman, in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen, would only say that the automaker "is always working to determine ways to offer more value to customers via telematics systems like Carwings," but declined to be more specific about any particular technological advancements.

Nissan debuted Carwings in late 2010, and, among other things, the concept was novel because it let Leaf drivers compare driving efficiency with other Leaf drivers (think of it as a real silent hypermiling contest). The feature had been used as a telecommunications system on a number of Nissan models in Japan for years before being introduced on the Leaf.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      My next car will likely be a Nissan LEAF. I'm pretty much set on the 2015 "S" model -- CarWings isn't available on the "S" model. CarWings adds nothing to the experience for me. I really don't miss the fancy graphs and kW/mile displays. I want a car that doesn't distract me from driving.
      • 8 Months Ago
      My issue with Carwings is that it cannot be modified for another country if you want to sell it or just drive there. Canadian Carwings wont work in the USA & vice versa. I did like the remote AC/heat control. Would have been a big selling point to my Caribbean cousin, but it wont work there.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Carwings could have been a good feature; but, Nissan has killed any chance of it becoming valuable to the driver by not supporting it as they should. In fact I'm looking for a way to remove it from my car. It does very little for me.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Here's a thought on improving the CarWings smartphone app... make it not suck. The fact that there are a few apps out there, that needed to reverse engineer the communications and are still better than CarWings should be an embarrassment to Nissan. While the car is charging, would it kill them to have the car push updates to the CarWings server every 10 minutes? In that scenario there is no risk of unnecessarily draining the battery and it would hide the painful slow roundtrip of phone->carwings server->car->carwings server->phone.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yeah I use LEAF Link which is much better but obviously it's still hit by the terrible slowness. I believe they need to start again with Carwings.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The Carwings iPhone app is so boring! No updates for a long time don't know what the deal is at Nissan. Awesome car though so that makes up for it I guess.
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