Kawasaki has now officially confirmed the development of their first electric motorcycle. The manufacturer published a two-minute video showing a prototype of the future electric bike during tests on a racetrack.
The test vehicle seems based on a production model of the Japanese, the fairing and headlights are reminiscent of the sporty Ninja models, probably the Ninja 300. According to Yoshimoto Matsuda, Senior Manager Innovation Department Research & Development Division, the company has been working on electrical technology since the early 2000s. Apparently, from the company’s point of view, the technology is now so far advanced that it can soon go into series production.
During the development, particular emphasis was placed on drivability. “They (bikes) will be fun to control, exciting and a reflection of Kawasaki’s passion,” says Matsuda. “We have been thoroughly studying and patenting features ranging from packaging and chassis geometry to transmissions and thumb brake activated energy recovery systems.” In the video, you can see that the test driver still operates a manual gearbox. Besides, recuperation is controlled by a unique thumb lever on the left handlebar – automatic control with braking torque on the rear wheel could lead to dangerous situations for motorcycles.
But according to Matsuda, it’s just a test vehicle so far, not a pre-stage to a production model: “Elements from this concept model will evolve and appear on next-generation motorcycles we are working on.” Kawasaki is not yet commenting on the technical details, not even a preliminary time of market launch. Just this much: “You can look forward to seeing them in the near future.”
So far, only the small company Energica offers an electric sports motorcycle with the Ego. The electric bikes from Zero and Harley-Davidson aim at other segments.