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What is Leaf-Spy and what happens during the service of an electric vehicle?

Originally published 9 July 2017.

Have you heard about Leaf-Spy?

What is Leaf Spy?

Leaf Spy is a smartphone app which uses Bluetooth to read from a “dongle” that's plugged into the Nissan Leaf or Nissan e-NV200 van. 

This reads information and history from the main battery pack and other areas of the vehicle. It is similar to the devices used by dealers when you take your car in for a service. Service technicians plug the device into the OBD2 port of the car and read the car's service codes.

The recommended dongle for Leafs and e-NV200 vans, is called Konnwei ELM327 OBD2 and available on Trade Me. 

Some of the readings are the state of health, mileage, temperature differences, cells being balanced and the number of fast and medium/slow charges the pack has done in its lifetime. Typically a fully charged 24kW Leaf has up to 281 GIDS (named after Gary Giddings) at standard temperature. Second generation Leafs have up to 291 GIDS.

As the temperature drops, so do the GIDS. Not such a big problem in NZ, but if you can, you should try to overnight charge your vehicle inside.

What is actually done during an annual service on an electric vehicle?

Even though there are a lot less checks needed on an electric vehicle - especially when compared with a petrol or diesel vehicle - there are still some important service checks needed. For example, brake fluid is hydroscopic (it absorbs water vapour) and should be replaced every two years.

In a standard EV service, the battery pack will be checked, tyres, coolant, windscreen fluid, lights and wipers. A Nissan Leaf check normally costs around $65.00 - $70.00.