Autoweek wonders if the Connected Car age has truly arrived.
The publication currently has a long-term 2018 Nissan LEAF. To get the answer to the above question, Autoweek connected the car to Amazon Alexa and gave it a whirl. The short of it is ... yes, the Connected Car is "upon us ... sort of."
As the story goes, virtual assistants are becoming all the rage these days. Not too long ago, people were starting to talk about them and share their experiences. Now, with the wide variety of systems available and competitive pricing, it seems almost every family has some type of related product, whether it be from Amazon, Google, or Apple.
We've started to hear more an more about EV owners adding their vehicle into their home assistant system. Nissan has joined the club and teamed up with Amazon to offer Alex voice-control services. With such technology, owners can start their car, lock and unlock the doors, set their charging schedule, and see the vehicle's charging status, among other features.
In order to use the service, you need NissanConnect Services, which is free for your first three years of new vehicle ownership. After that, the cost is $11.99 per month. Once you have the subscription, you simply register your LEAF and download the related mobile app (NissanConnect EV & Services). You also need to have the Alexa app installed on your device and set up the "skill" that allows it to "see" and interact with your LEAF.
So how does it work in practice? Well, it’s not exactly a polished experience, but when it works, it definitely gives off a “this is the future” vibe. Both through the Alexa app and when using the Echo Dot I had on hand, getting the battery’s charge level requires you to use the exact sentence, “Alexa, tell Nissan Connect EV to check battery status of my Leaf” with no deviation, otherwise Alexa won’t know what to do.
In the end, Autoweek says the system is surely not perfect, but things are moving in the right direction. It should only be a matter of time before these systems become commonplace in terms of connecting people's cars with their homes and devices.