Nissan’s Connected Car Ecosystem ‘Will Keep Data Safe’

Consumers have been promised total control over their driving data in Nissan’s connectivity strategy.

That’s the promise being made by Garth Dunsmore Nissan Europe director of electric vehicles and connected services. Speaking to journalists at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Dunsmore said Nissan’s connectivity ambitions are part of a larger ecosystem approach it plans to grow with its future EV capabilities.

He said: “We are going to connect 100% of our line-up by 2022. Not just our electrified vehicles, that make up 42% of our current range, but all of our vehicles and will be providing more subscription-based services to our customers as we move forward. We believe we can go beyond the car and build a broader ecosystem with solar power, with refurbishing Leaf batteries by putting them into the home as second-life storage units able to take power from the grid over night or solar during the day. Then to also be able to manage all of that through the power of a smartphone to be more efficient and provide a more economically viable way of managing your house as well as your mobility all in a more sustainable way.”

However, Dunsmore stressed the importance to keep the consumer’s trust by allowing them total control over their data. He explained: “Today, every time the customer turns on their Leaf if they have chosen to connect the vehicle, they can say ‘No, I want to stay blind today’ or else ‘Yes, I’m happy to use the services’ and all of that data is stored by Nissan, and not a third-party, and stored under the GDPR regulations that came into force last year.

Information flow

“We use this data to help transfer information to the consumer, we don’t monetize it and we don’t share that data with third parties today, and it’s really there to allow a flow of information to the car and the smartphone and provide better services, to be able to charge your car, and so forth.”

Dunsmore said the data can be vital to the carmaker to help improve both the performance of vehicles and the infrastructure network they depend upon. He said: “It’s also to help us understand better how customers are using their electric vehicles. To understand their charging patterns; to understand where and when they need charging facilities and that’s really the cornerstone of what we introduced in 2010, which has driven our infrastructure strategy and has driven us to put in more quick chargers are certain locations giving more charging options to consumers. This is where the customer sees the added ‘hidden’ benefit today.”

Future revenues

While Nissan does not currently use consumer data as a revenue stream, it will explore this area in future as it works increasingly with third-party service providers. Dunsmore said: “Going forward, data will still be in the customers’ hands and we have to make it clear that it is fully trusted and allows the customer to say ‘No, I want that car but I don’t want to be connected or share my data’. However, if they do it’s about what value we give them back. There are several ways we can do this – one is to provide cheaper insurance costs. We want to sell your data in an anonymized form to provide lower insurance costs for our customers. You can choose whether you want to or not and many customers will choose ‘Yes, I’m interested’ and, hopefully, all customers will benefit from lower insurance premiums.”

Data will also bring other money-saving benefits to the consumer, added Dunsmore. He explained: “In other ways, it’s very important that we work with third parties to provide such as with the latest costs of fuel plugged into the navigation system of the car. Or which charging points are available and the cost of those charging points. Of course, there will be some third-party relationships we will have to manage but it’s still the customer’s data and they own that data and we can’t share that data unless the customer says ‘Yes please, share my data’.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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