Nissan recently launched an update to its Japanese smartphone and web-based apps for the Leaf electric car that assists users in gauging how much electricity they'll need to get to and from their destinations. The first upgrade comes in the form of an improved in-app battery meter that can precisely gauge the amount of electricity the car currently has and how much it will take to get to the next charge station. Nissan is using a complex usage-simulator with GPS location data to provide these metrics, and while they are limited to the smartphone and web-based apps for now, the company is working on a similar upgrade for the Leaf's on-board navigation system.

The other new feature, called "Minna no Syouhi Denryoku" (Energy Usage Database), will show users a litany of data on how variables like elevation and temperature effect the vehicle's range. It will also compare the battery usage of over 28,000 other Leafs, find which ones have traveled similar routes, and use that data to provide a power forecast with as much accuracy as possible. The apps are available now in Japan, and similar apps for US and European customers are under development.