Jean-Pierre Diernaz is first director of electric vehicles at Nissan Europe

Article by Anita Panait, on June 10, 2013

Nissan Europe has appointed Jean-Pierre Diernaz as its first director of electric vehicles for the region. As part of the newly created role, Diernaz is in charge of boosting sales of the new European version of the Nissan Leaf. Diernaz is also in charge of leading efforts to promote the Leaf as a feasible mobility alternative, especially for car-sharing programs that is in trend at large cities in Europe.

Diernaz started his career at Ford France in 1994. For around 11 years, Diernaz held a number of executive roles Ford France’s marketing department. He joined Nissan Europe in June 2005 as head of European advertising and media. In January 2007, Diernaz was named as general manager of marketing communication in charge of increasing brand awareness and marketing initiatives in Europe.

Diernaz was credited for his role in helping the advertising campaign for the Nissan Qashqai crossover. He was then named in May 2010 as director of marketing and communications for Infiniti in Europe, Middle East and Russia.

To make the Leaf more appealing in Europe, Nissan has trimmed its starting price and increased its range to 199km (124 miles) from 175km. Nissan has started building the newest European version of the Leaf at its Sunderland site in the United Kingdom. In 2012, Nissan only sold 5,210 Leafs in Europe, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics.

The new Nissan Leaf -- underpinned by Nissan’s bespoke EV architecture -- measures 4,445 mm in length, 1,770 mm in width and 1,550 mm in height, with 2,700 mm of wheelbase. With these dimensions, the Leaf was given an aerodynamic shape, which contributes significantly to its desirable coefficient of drag value of just 02.8 Cd.

Compared to the original model, the new Leaf features some changes to the grille, which is flanked by slim, almost vertical headlights, with higher-end models employing LED technology. Aside from providing the much needed illumination, these headlights also help direct airflow away from the door mirrors, thereby reducing wind noise while benefiting aerodynamics.

Nissan designed the body of the new Leaf by adhering to “smart fluidity” principle. This is why the new Leaf features a kicked-up roofline blending into a large spoiler as well as a flat yet smooth underfloor. On the rear end, the new Nissan Leaf features thin vertical taillights with curve-like shape. Another remarkable feature on the rear end of the Leaf is the non-existent tailpipe.

Customers now have a wider palette of colors to choose from for their new Leaf. They could pick from any of seven available exterior colors: black metallic, blue pearl metallic, grey, metallic silver, red pearl metallic, solid white and white pearl.

The Japanese carmaker has also implemented some revisions inside the cabin of the new Leaf. For instance, the new Leaf is provided with redesigned seats that now offer better support. The height of the front seats could now be adjusted. Moreover, these seats have been reshaped to make more space for the legs of rear passengers (up to 53 mm more legroom).

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