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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Electric motorcycle from Kawasaki closer to reality

By 2035, Kawasaki aims to have a fully-electrified portfolio, including battery electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

Kawasaki, while most major automakers are upgrading to electrified powertrains, still relies on the pure internal combustion engine (ICE) for its models. However, the company has begun assembling its resources for future battery-powered models.

Recently, the Japanese superbike brand unveiled a prototype of its first fully electric motorcycle at Intermot 2022 in Cologne, Germany. The prototype was previously displayed, along with a hybrid model, at the Suzuka eight-hour endurance race in Japan in August this year.

The new EV prototype is part of Kawasaki’s plan for electrification of models involving the introduction of ten hybrid or fully electric models by 2025. A production-spec model of the recently unveiled prototype is likely to be the company’s first EV, slated to hit the markets in Europe by next year.

Design

As evident from the images, the EV prototype takes inspiration from Kawasaki’s ‘Z’ range of naked streetfighters as far as design is concerned. In fact, it looks like a miniature version of the Z400, with many similar styling elements. For instance, the prototype flaunts a sharp, angular headlight upfront with a green tint, a sculpted faux fuel tank, and a blacked-out visor.

Other visual highlights include:

  • Sharp body panels.
  • Split-style seats.
  • 17-inch Y-shaped alloys wheels.
  • A raised tail section.
  • A sleek triangular LED taillight.

Low-set handlebars and rear-set footpegs combine aggressive styling with aggressive ergonomics for a fairly committed riding stance.

Hardware and powertrain details

Images reveal that the prototype electric bike is based on a tubular trellis frame, which is suspended on conventional telescopic forks at the front and a mono-shock at the rear. Petal-shaped disc brakes will handle braking duties on both ends, which a dual-channel ABS will accompany.

The motorcycle features an electric motor mounted at the centre with a chain drive system passing the power to the rear wheel. The battery pack is placed in the underbelly encased by the frame from all sides. The faux fuel tank lid should serve as a charging port for the battery.

Since it is still in the prototype stage, Kawasaki has decided against revealing too much information about the bike. Therefore, details such as motor and battery specs, range on offer, and charging time have been kept under wraps. However, some previously leaked documents suggest that the motor will be good enough to generate 14.8 hp, making it equivalent to a 125cc ICE-powered motorcycle.

This would make the electric bike suitable for novice riders holding an A1 licence in the European region. An official announcement regarding the bike’s international debut is expected in the coming months.

 

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