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EICMA 2022: Kawasaki flies in with electrics and hybrids

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  • EICMA 2022: Kawasaki flies in with electrics and hybrids

    EICMA 2022 is in full swing and there's a whole lot to see and report. One of the most interesting stalls is that of Kawasaki though. No new models per se but a lot of very exciting concepts. Kawasaki is certainly looking towards the future with a range of electric, hybrid, and even hydrogen-fuelled motorcycles on show.

    Starting with the electric models, the motorcycles on display were based on the Z and the Ninja platforms. The two electric models have been confirmed as 2023 production motorcycles. Proper names for these motorcycles are yet to be decided as Kawasaki referred to them simply as Z-family and Ninja-style motorcycles. The motorcycles share the same underpinnings with a 15 hp electric motor (in Europe). Then there are the dual batteries mounted under the tank. The total capacity is rated at 3kWh. The transmission comprises a single reduction gear. This also eliminates the need for any clutch or a gear lever. The rear brake though remains conventional i.e. foot operated.

    The next step in Kawasaki's electric future is a hybrid model that was showed in a near-production-ready trim. It is called HEV at the moment and borrows its styling cues from the Ninja 400. It has a parallel-twin engine which is bolstered by an electric motor. The transmission on this one is a semi-automatic unit operated by the buttons on the left handlebar. The most interesting bit on the motorcycle is a button called eBoost that would allow the motorcycle to leverage both the electric motor and the combustion engine.

    If the models discussed till now were interesting, the next one is off the charts- a hydrogen-fuelled combustion engine. The prototype of the engine was on display and Kawasaki provided images that shed light on what the motorcycle could look like. The engine is derived from the supercharged unit that powers the Ninja H2 but uses hydrogen instead of gasoline. The powertrain necessitates direct-fuel injection i.e. hyrdrogen is added at high pressure and the supercharger ensures that there's enough air in the combustion chamber to facilitate clean and efficient combustion.