The world’s best-selling electric car, the Nissan LEAF, is to integrate with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to power its telematics systems, according to an official release today.

Since its launch in 2010, Nissan has sold over 200,000 LEAF models worldwide. The Japanese auto maker has now selected Azure to control the Connect Telematics Systems (CTS) integrated in all LEAF cars, as well as its luxury range Infiniti in Europe.

According to Microsoft, the partnership was driven by customer demand for in-vehicle interaction and mobility solutions, and Nissan’s commitment to enhancing safety for customers. Electric vehicle (EV) technology, in which Nissan is a pioneer, is becoming an attractive option for drivers looking for a more environmentally conscious and convenient vehicle. However, EV’s focus on connectivity has increased owners’ dependency on the availability of maps, charging station information and charge status, among other services.

This demand will now be managed across Microsoft’s global Azure framework. The new integration will allow for remote connection to the vehicle via smartphone so LEAF drivers are able to perform a range of actions on their car without being physically inside it. These functions could include adjusting temperature and controlling charging settings.

The LEAF hands-free messaging assistant, which enables drivers to manage texts via voice control and steering wheel switches, will be powered by Azure connectivity and support. The cloud platform is also expected to help Nissan bring new connected features to market faster, such as the over-the-air ‘point of interest’ (POI) update tool which allows customers to receive the latest information on nearby locales.

Celso Guiotoko, CIO and vice president of global corporate IS/IT at Nissan, commented that working with Microsoft Azure will help the company deliver a “more innovative and intelligent future for connected technologies.” He continued that it was a “bold first step” in Nissan’s quest to realise a new future for mobility.

Microsoft VP Peggy Johnson added that the collaboration highlighted the enormous range of possibilities for consumers to get more out of their connected driving experiences.