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Japan’s "kei cars," vehicles known for their affordability and small engines, face a potentially existential threat as the country leans on automakers to go electric as part of its net-zero emissions goal.

"Kei" means "light” in Japanese, and the category makes up about a third of new domestic automobile sales. They’re a popular means of transportation outside of major cities, used by farmers and families that need multiple vehicles to get around. Cheap to buy and own, keis are mainly manufactured for the home market, with engines limited by law to 660 cubic centimeters.

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