PC World reports that Nissan is developing an iPhone application that will be able to interface with the company's forthcoming electric car, allowing drivers to remotely view the charge state of their car's battery.
Using it, owners will be able to monitor charging of their cars while away from the vehicles. The system could come in handy, for example, when cars are parked at public charging stations and owners want to fully charge the batteries before driving away.
The application also allows for reporting of the internal temperature of the vehicle and allows users to activate the air conditioning system remotely so that the vehicle reaches a comfortable temperature by the time the driver arrives at his or her vehicle. The feature also allows the vehicle to take advantage of an external power source for air conditioning if the vehicle is charging at the time, shifting the power burden for the initial cooling off of the vehicle's internal battery.
A driver returning to their car on a hot or cold day will typically blast the air conditioning or heater as soon as they start the engine and keep it going until a comfortable temperature is reached. That doesn't pose too much of a problem on a gasoline-powered car but on an electric car it contributes to battery drain, reducing the car's range.
However if the car is connected to a charger then it makes more sense to start-up the air conditioner or heater while still connected, making use of the electricity from the charging station, for those few initial minutes of high power use.
Nissan's electric car will be unveiled next Sunday and is scheduled for a 2010 launch in North American and Japan.