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Mazda to enter electric vehicle market

TOKYO, Jan 24, 2011 – Japanese automaker Mazda Motor said Monday that it is developing an electric vehicle with plans to begin leasing in 2012, the latest entry into a burgeoning market.

"Mazda Motor Corporation is independently developing an electric vehicle with plans to commence leasing in Japan in spring 2012," the Hiroshima-based firm said in a statement.

The vehicle, based on Mazda\’s Demio subcompact, is expected to have a driving range of 200 kilometres (124 miles) and will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers.

Its domestic rivals Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors have already launched their own electric vehicles, while Toyota Motor and Honda Motor plan to follow suit.

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