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Other car apps let you unlock doors or open the trunk, but the new Nissan LEAF app focuses in on what makes the LEAF different — charging its electric battery. The LEAF has no gas motor — like the hybrid Chevy Volt — so when you’re out of juice in the LEAF, you’re parked. Period. Thus this Android app is great for, if nothing else, keeping close tabs on your electric car’s battery life.
A big chart on the app’s main screen shows how much charge your battery has, how long it will take to reach 100 percent (longer for a trickle charger, shorter when plugged in to a normal charger), and the estimated number of miles you could drive with the current level of battery. Handily, you can toggle the estimate based on whether or not you’ll be running the climate-control system. (You’ll lose a few miles off the total if you do.)
The other features of the app include: Letting you start charging (requires the car to be plugged in, of course), remotely turning on the climate-control system (warming for cold days or cooling for hot ones, but you must leave the car with the proper settings since the app only turns the climate control on or off), and calling for LEAF customer support or roadside assistance.
The app offers a settings page that lets you configure email and text alerts on a variety of states — when the car starts charging, if the climate control is on, when charging completes, when it needs to be plugged in because of low battery, and so on.
The app requires a subscription to a CARWINGS service. From my perspective, if you own a LEAF, it’s worth getting the app, but I do wish the app offered even more controls — like popping the trunk or unlocking the doors.