Nissan iPhone App Helps You Win the Grand Prix -- of Eco-Driving
The iPhone may not be as big in Japan as it is in the States, but that hasn't stopped Nissan from developing an app that shows the residents of Yokohama City, Japan how to drive better.
The new program is part of a trial service called E1 Grand Prix. Here's how it works: The app connects to your car's On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), and extracts information in real-time to determine how efficiently you're driving (you know, from a saving fuel perspective). Step on the gas and then break too much, and you'll get a low score; accelerate just enough to coast to the corner before the light turns red, and you'll get high marks. The app connects to your OBD via in-car mobile Wi-Fi, and then spits back your results on your iPhone screen and via e-mail. The results are also uploaded to an online site, where you essentially compete with other folks to be the most 'eco-efficient' driver -- hence the 'Grand Prix' name).
We got a quick little hands on driving around suburban Tokyo in a Nissan Cube this week while at CEATEC and were impressed with the iPhone app's ability to track your exact speed in real-time, while still crunching all those eco-minded numbers in the background. Overall, we got an 86 out of 100, based on our relatively eco-efficient acceleration, cruising, and deceleration.
So far, Nissan hasn't said whether it'll be bringing this app to the States, but we have a hunch the car manufacturer will, eventually. After all, the United States is the iPhone's biggest market. We'll just have to see if the United States also becomes in-car Wi-Fi's biggest market, if you catch our drift.