We first heard about Mazda’s plans to develop a battery-powered electric version of its Mazda2 hatchback back in 2009, with the automaker finally starting real-world trials of prototypes last year.

Now Mazda has announced that its electric Mazda2 (a Demio in Japan) is scheduled to commence leasing in Japan in the spring of 2012. The first batch of cars will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers, with an aim to eventually launch a model for individual private sale by 2013.

Mazda is still trying to gather as much knowledge as it can in the area of electric cars. Through this electric car lease program, for instance, the automaker is hoping to enhance its knowledge of electric drive technologies and usage requirements.

Few details about the actual electric Mazda2 have been revealed but we know that the car has a driving range of approximately 124 miles.

Mazda may be a little late to the table when it comes to electric vehicle technology but the automaker is determined to catch up and is working hard to progressively introduce electric devices such as regenerative braking and hybrid systems into its cars, as well as eventually launch full battery-powered electric cars.

[Mazda]