Nissan LEAF To Get 3G Upgrade; Owners Of 2011-2014 LEAFs May Have To Pay To Play

1 year ago by Steven Loveday 31

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

Nissan has announced plans to upgrade its NissanConnect EV (formerly Carwings) telecommunications module (TCM) to 3G.

Inside the 2016 Nissan LEAF

Inside the 2016 Nissan LEAF

This update will affect 2015 and earlier models. The 2016 LEAF will remain unaffected as it already comes with the new technology.

Nissan will cover the upgrade costs for all owners and lessees of 2015 LEAFs. Those with 2011-2014 models will be responsible for some portion of the cost, although the amount is undisclosed at this point.

Services offered by the technology include remote access to climate control, driving history, and battery status, among other features.

Currently, the NissanConnect EV services are not available using the iOS or Andrioid apps, due to the recent exposed “hacking” vulnerability. The company shut the service down, but remote features controlled from the owner’s portal are still working.

The subscription to the service is complimentary for three years following a LEAF purchase. However, Nissan has indefinitely extended the free coverage until further notice. LEAF drivers will receive notification 90 days prior to any new costs associated.

Owners MUST switch their Carwings accounts over to NissanConnect EV by June 30 in order for the service to continue functioning.

Much press concerning Nissan’s TCM points out that it is slow and buggy. Apparently, the new 3G service is intended to change this, but no promises. Tech Radar journalist Tuan Huynh shares:

“As an owner of a 2015 model year Leaf SL, I’m happy that Nissan will cover the cost of parts and labor for my car, but I’ve experienced a 2016 with 3G connectivity. Nissan’s switch to a 3G network doesn’t speed things up at all, and the service is still extremely slow to issue commands. If I had a previous model year vehicle that required some out-of-pocket costs, I would most likely skip the TCM upgrade and just stop using NissanConnect EV. It’s a feature I very rarely use because its slow and my Leaf parks in my garage.”

With the recent “hackability,” and now the service shut down, coupled with numerous reports of slow service, maybe Nissan feels compelled to offer free or partially subsidized upgrades, and keep the service free beyond the initial offers.

Source: Tech Radar

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31 responses to "Nissan LEAF To Get 3G Upgrade; Owners Of 2011-2014 LEAFs May Have To Pay To Play"

  1. Anthony says:

    FWIW, Verizon has stated that they intend to sunset their 3G tech in 2021, and I don’t think the other carriers will be far behind. By the early 2020s 5G will be taking off and carriers will be reluctant to maintain three different network types (3G, 4G/LTE, 5G). In another 5 years the same consumers might be paying to upgrade their TCM to a 4G/LTE module.

  2. pk says:

    Anyone who programs an API by allowing cleartext VIN without any other authentication has failed secure programming 101. In fact they failed the kindergarten version. My 2015 is leased so I’ll get the upgrade whenever it comes. But I doubt it will make a huge difference. Also, the Nissanconnect app is a 100 times worse than the carwings app. I could write a better app.

    1. Stephane says:

      Because Nissan really is bad at security, I now have 2 browser bookmarks (HVAC ON and HVAC OFF) to control the functions I need, bypassing their app and website.

      Yes they did shutdown the app, but they somehow missed other very similar issues on other servers that they manage…

      1. Aaron says:

        I doubt the 3G upgrade will do anything for the speed either. Commands issued using the “hack” were very slow, too, so I believe this is more of a server-side problem.

        1. Anthony says:

          GM’s On-Star network used to be pretty slow. I think they overhauled it when they in-sourced their IT department, and it seems to be faster now. Its not instant, but it seems to be better than it was when I bought my Volt in 2012.

          1. Michel says:

            The same for my Volt since is upgrade to 4g that work good and fast compare to the 2g . Good improvement.

        2. Stephane says:

          I don’t think it would improve the speed. Speed is good when there is a lot of information to transfer, however from what I read before the way the Leaf communication works is that the server sends a SMS to the car to tell it to connect to the server (over 2G).

          I think the only things that would see a speed improvement is the update of charging stations, RSS reader and maybe the navigation download.

      2. chris says:

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  3. Mark says:

    Silly that there were still putting 2G in 2015 cars. Did I say “silly”?

    I mean lazy, cheap and short sighted. When I read the fine-print when buying 2013 Leaf, I asked about the 2G shut down and whether I’d have to pay for an upgrade after shutdown. Dealer had absolutely no idea what I was talking about on any level?

  4. Skryll says:

    Funny how they tout 3G as the new technology in 2016…

    1. kdawg says:

      I’m reminded of this Volt commercial, about touting old technology as “new”.

  5. TP says:

    Received a letter from Nissan about this on Monday. My first thought was why not spend a little extra and go for the 4G/LTE modules now.

    Not sure if I will upgrade my 2013 LEAF or not as my lease currently ends in Jan 2017.

    As for the NissanConnect EV app, I believe that most of the slowness is related to the servers and how they talk to the car. That said the AT&T 2G network is super slow. I remember with my first gen iPhone that the speed seemed to decrease every 6 months.

  6. Trollnonymous says:

    Cellular connectivity for a car still seems senseless to me.

    1. Skryll says:

      Not intending to feed any trolls but remote air conditioning control
      warming up he car in the garage in the winter from he breakfast table, cooling down from lunch in the summer, check on battery charge status, locating parking position etc I would not want to miss after having had it in my 2015 eGolf

  7. jdbob says:

    Ford is still putting 2G modems in their 2016 Energi models, so Nissan isn’t alone in the silly department.

    1. Trollnonymous says:

      +1 for calling them “modems”…..lol

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile is still keeping some of its 2G network for foreseeable future in the US. It is widely used for machine-to-machine communications like POS terminals, sensors, smart meters and so on. You don’t really need any speed to send few bytes.

  8. LEAF_n_PiP says:

    While I’m happy my 2015 LEAF will be getting the upgrade, I’m extremely disappointed they are once again going with an old technology (3G). 4G LTE has been out for what, 5 years already? I can’t imagine the cost difference between a 3G modem vs a 4G LTE modem is that much at this point. Why wouldn’t they future proof it that much more? If they hadn’t been cheap back when the first LEAF came out and gone with 3G then, it would have saved them the costs of upgrading now, yet they’re repeating the same mistake (except there will be no future upgrade after this one).

  9. Lad says:

    I hate to bust all these technology bubbles; but, perhaps it’s time to take a look at how distracting all this is to the actual chore of driving the car and trying to avoid killing others with the car.

    Perhaps it’s time to lose all the trees, dancing lights, guessometer, temp display, GPS/mode touch screens, etc. And, all this telecommunications stuff cost money, opens your privacy locker to others, who knows, maybe not only to Nissan and hackers; but also to the CIA…the money might be better used to add cells to the battery,more miles range..

    All one needs is an EV with a speedometer, a clock, a battery level indicator and fault lights. Save me from the AT&T money machine.

    1. TP says:

      True, we don’t need all of those things to drive an EV or any car. If you don’t want those features, don’t buy a car that has them.

      But as a technology enthusiast, I am glad they are there. I will continue to vote for technology in my cars with future purchases of teched out cars.

  10. Rebel44 says:

    I work for a large telco company and we also expect to retire 3G around 2020.

  11. Mister G says:

    Don’t use Nissan connect on my 2016 Leaf SV…I have no use for it

  12. Taser54 says:

    Yet another reason not to buy a used leaf.

  13. ClarksonCote says:

    On a related note, I’ve seen a couple notes that the Gen 2 Volt seems to be much faster than the Gen 1 Volt with its version of this connectivity, and the Gen 1 Volt already seemed above the current Leaf.

    Hopefully Nissan can also work the kinks out.

  14. Master One says:

    Does that mean, that the 2G TCU will stop working after 30th June, or will it still be operational until the local mobile providers decide to switch off the 2G network?

    I have no information about a 2G switch-off in my country anytime soon, and I was just considering the purchase of a LEAF MY13.

    With unknown costs for the TCU swap on pre-MY15 models I may as well consider the purchase of a MY15 instead.

    That’s another bad move of NISSAN, upgrading from one obsolete tech to the next.

    1. LEAF_n_PiP says:

      The 2G should continue working until it’s shut down in your area.

  15. DQ says:

    So I have a 2015 Leaf S, does that mean I’ll be able to get this new hardware installed for free?

    1. LEAF_n_PiP says:

      No, it’s for the SV and SL trims only.

      1. georgeb says:

        Thank you for answering this. As one new to the Leaf I had no idea if I needed to upgrade this. I bought a very low mileage 2013 S model because I hated the non-responsive and awkward navigation system. Don’t really need to control pre-heating or cooling where I live either. Buying a used Leaf in California is a great deal. So many lease turn ins make getting this car for under 9k very possible even with low mileage and with nice trim.

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  17. chris says:

    and now the portal has been down for two days