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Nissan Leaf Software Update: Here’s What’s Different

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We find out what happens when our 2011 Nissan Leaf undergoes an essential software update.

We find out what happens when our 2011 Nissan Leaf undergoes an essential software update.

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A little over a week ago, we told you that Nissan had announced a complementary voluntary service campaign for all 2011/12 Nissan Leafs. 

With Nissan strongly encouraging owners to have their Leafs updated to the latest operating system, we decided to get the software in our own 2011 Leaf upgraded to see what differences we could make out. 

The Upgrade

Just like the previous software upgrade, Nissan Leaf technicians perform the upgrade using a laptop computer connects to the car using the Leaf’s on-board diagnostics (ODB) port. 

According to Nissan, the update shouldn’t take too long, but just like previous software upgrades, it seems some Leafs take longer to upgrade than others.  

Unlike our car’s last upgrade -- which took just 15 minutes -- it took the Nissan technicians several hours to complete the upgrade due to a problem communicating over the service port with our car.  

As a consequence, we’d recommend Leaf owners taking their Leafs in for a service plan for it to take several hours in case of complications -- even if in most cases it takes a lot less. 

Nissan Leaf Updated Carwings Software

Nissan Leaf Updated Carwings Software

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Realistic Carwings Estimates

As promised, the latest Leaf update improves the accuracy of the state-of-charge reporting for the Leaf. 

Previously, when logging into the Nissan Carwings service via a smartphone app or web browser, the car’s predicted range and battery state of charge reports were often much lower than the in-car range prediction display. 

Since the update we’ve seen carwings predicted ranges which match the range predictions displayed in-car, along with a more accurate time-until-full estimate, making it easier to understand how long it will take to recharge. 

Changed State Of Charge Representation

Interestingly, the software also appears to change the way the car’s on-board display represents the Leaf’s state of charge using its 12-bar charge gauge. 

On the first few long-distance drives since the upgrade, we’ve noticed Our Leaf loses its first bar a little earlier than it had previously, with the first five or six bars disappearing at a rate of one every 4 to 7 miles. 

Towards the apparent half-charge mark -- which seems to arrive a little earlier at a distance of between 30 and 45 miles since recharge -- the rate at which the bars disappear starts to slow. 

According to our limited experience thus far, the final few bars disappear at a rate of one every 8 to 13 miles, with a predicted range remaining as high as 30 miles even with only 3 bars remaining.

Under the previous software update, 3 bars would normally equate to a remaining range prediction of between 24 and 15 miles, depending on driving style. 

However, it should be noted that the car’s low battery warning remains at around the same point -- a remaining predicted range of around 9 miles and with only one bar remaining.

Door Open Warning

Nissan Leaf Car Not In Park Warning

Nissan Leaf Car Not In Park Warning

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Perhaps the most useful of the upgrades is the addition of a new audible warning which sounds if the driver’s door is opened when the Leaf is not in Park. 

Displaying a warning on the car’s dash telling the driver to shift to Park, as well as producing a double chirp until either the door is closed or the car is placed into Park, the warning should eliminate any accidents caused by an exiting driver forgetting to place their Leaf into park.

Should You Upgrade?

If you regularly use Carwings to check on your Leaf’s state-of-charge, the latest software update to the Leaf is a must-have. 

We’re also fans of the changed rate at which the battery indicator drops, especially for inexperienced drivers not used to the Leaf’s EPA-estimated 73 mile range. 

As for the door warning? As we’ve stepped out of a Leaf before when it wasn’t in Park, causing some damage to our car’s door in the process, we’re fans of the new feature. 

Have you had the upgrade? What do you think? Let us know in the Comments below.

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Comments (3)
  1. I had my upgrade Monday. They had the car all morning. The outside temperature and the range map gave strange readings for the first day then settled down. My charge timers were also turned off. My bars seem to be going down slower and I seem to feel I have more range but I have only driven two days.
     
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  2. We had our upgrade last week. After about a full week of use with this new software, we are seeing a more accurate relationship between the original range value and how far we have driven in the first 3-15 miles AS LONG AS THE SPEED IS UNDER 50 mph anyway. It is 3 miles from our house to the freeway onramp and before those 3 miles reduced our range by usually 10 miles, now those early miles are almost fully accurate. Today, after a total of 24 miles on three short around town jaunts, the range prediction still said we might have another 70 miles remaining. This appears to be giving us more like 90-100 miles potential real range when we were showing earlier only 75-80 miles of overall range after our first 10-15 miles of initial driving.
     
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  3. Reason one to always get the latest software upgrades: Known Bug Fixes! All software has them in one form or another as it is almost impossible to identify all the logic requirements in the early stages of software development; it all gets better and better with each upgrade.
     
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