2011 Mazda2
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Mazda is preparing a fleet of electric vehicles that will be available for lease in Japan. Based on the Demio/Mazda2, these EVs will utilize the automaker's new SKYACTIV powertrain technology. Mazda is shooting for a 200-kilometer driving range (about 124 miles) and plans to begin the leasing program in the spring of 2012.

The target audience for the vehicle will be local government groups and fleet customers. Mazda's ultimate goal of the program is to refine its knowledge of electric vehicles by collecting data on EV requirements and powertrain technology. For the full details, follow the jump for the automaker's brief press release.

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[Source: Mazda]
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Mazda to Lease Electric Vehicles in Japan

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation is independently developing an electric vehicle (EV) with plans to commence leasing in Japan in spring 2012. The new EV, based on its Demio subcompact, is expected to have a driving range of 200 kilometers and will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers.

Mazda is currently advancing its Building Block Strategy, which prioritizes the improvement of base technologies by developing more efficient engines and transmissions and reducing vehicle weight. Building on this, Mazda will progressively introduce electric devices such as regenerative braking and hybrid systems. The initial results of the strategy – products featuring Mazda's new, eco-friendly SKYACTIV technologies – will begin rolling out to markets this year. In parallel with the Building Block Strategy, Mazda is also continuing its research and development efforts into EVs designed for customers with short city commutes. Through this EV lease program, Mazda hopes to enhance its knowledge of EV usage requirements and electric drive technologies.

The internal combustion engine is expected to remain the heart of the automobile for the near future. Going forward, Mazda will continue to improve its base technologies that are centered on internal combustion. At the same time, it will advance development of various future eco-friendly technologies in order to offer all its customers driving pleasure as well as outstanding environmental and safety performance.