Nissan LEAF Carwings

Nissan: Euro Carwings Subscription Will Stay Free

Nissan confirmed today to Transport Evolved that Carwings will remain free for European LEAF owners even after their cars reach three years of age, a change from the previous plan of charging owners a yearly subscription for the service.

Nissan LEAF Carwings

Nissan’s Carwings system, on a 2011 Nissan LEAF

Integrated into every Nissan LEAF, Carwings  allows drivers of Nissan’s electric car to remotely interact with their cars via a smartphone app or Internet browser, giving them real-time information on their car’s state of charge, basic charging functionality, climate control and even lets them set a satellite navigation destination.

When Carwings first debuted alongside the LEAF in 2010, many felt the system would revolutionise electric vehicle ownership, empowering drivers with a level of interactivity between their mobile phone and their car never before seen.

Inaccurate Carwings

Carwings’ online portal and smartphone apps have developed a reputation for providing inaccurate or no data at all to drivers.

At the time, Nissan said Carwings would be provided free of charge to LEAF owners for the first three years of ownership, after which a yearly subscription charge of around (believed to be around $99 U.S.) would be levied for the service.

Carwings would, Nissan Promised,  make electric car ownership easier, by helping owners plan routes from charging station to charging station, avoiding range anxiety and ultimately, getting stranded without a charge.

But inaccurate charging databases supplied by third parties, connectivity woes and service glitches have left most drivers frustrated rather than enamoured with the Carwings service.

General reliability has been so bad in fact that Internet forums like and contain hundreds of posts devoted to the on-board telematics system, with problems ranging from little or no connectivity to malfunctioning smart phone apps and out-of-date charging information.

In recent months and after several software updates to both Nissan LEAFs owned by the Transport Evolved team, we’ve noticed a slight improvement in Carwings’ overall reliability, (although we note the charging database is still woefully out of date for the U.K.,) and we still can’t get the official iPhone Carwings app to connect to the Carwings server.

Connecting via the excellent LeafLink App (available from the iTunes store) for iPhone does result in reliable, up-to-date information about our cars from the Carwings server, however, leading us to conclude that the problem lies with Nissan’s Carwings software, not hardware.

Why has Nissan decided to keep the cost of Carwings free for Europeans? We’re not sure, although lower-than expected LEAF sales, poor Carwings reliability and the development of third-party telematics systems like the Open Vehicle Monitoring System must have all played a part.

Working Carwings

Under normal circumstances, Carwings provides up-to-date information about your LEAF, direct to your smart phone.

As for U.S. Leaf Owners, Nissan North America tells Transport Evolved that it is still planning a U.S. Carwings strategy, and will be able to make an official announcement soon.

Do you use Carwings in your LEAF? Do you think the service is reliable, and would you pay to have a yearly Carwings subscription?

Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below.








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  • Rob Kay

    No. It’s far more trouble than its worth. This isn’t a killer ap, this is a pain in the butt with zero benefits. And as for the in-built-satnav: I am now using my TomTom: its far more reliable and up to date.

  • James H

    It is a novelty item while it is free but I don’t see myself paying for it later just to be able to see charge status, turn on heating/a/c system, and uploading route plans. If it included updating the map database every year then it might have better value.

  • Guest

    I’m on my second Nissan Leaf. Leased a 2011 and just turned it in and purchased a 2015. I’ve used the Carwings app excessively for over 3 years and have been delighted with it. From turning on the heat/AC as I’m going through checkout to checking the charging status before I hit the road. It has never failed me. I don’t rely on the Nissan app for Charging Stations though. I prefer to use the mobile apps from charging suppliers (primarily ChargePoint and NRG eVgo). Given the data usage and being a tech driven vehicle, I feel any subscription rate should be wrapped into the sales price as a free service for the life of the vehicle. Charging fees to use your car rubs me the wrong way.

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