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Nissan aims for pole position in electric cars with new Leaf

Automaker's answer to Tesla also targeted at rapidly growing Chinese market

Nissan's Leaf electric vehicle is displayed at a premiere event in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, on Sept. 6. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

CHIBA, Japan -- Nissan Motor is making a fresh bet that global demand for electric vehicles is finally about to blossom -- the Japanese automaker unveiled the second generation of its Leaf EV on Wednesday.

With a vastly extended driving range, a sportier and sleeker look, and a cheaper-than-rivals sticker price, the new Leaf is intended to appeal to the mass market -- especially in China -- as rival EV maker Tesla serves more of the luxury segment.

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