While everyone’s attention was on the new Ninja 1000SX and the pair of Zs Kawasaki unveiled at EICMA, there was another rather important presence on the green stage. For the first time, Kawasaki showcased the electric powertrain it is developing. Dubbed EV Project, the prototype—basically just a stripped-down bike fitted with an electric powertrain—opened the doors to Kawasaki’s future projects.
Along with the prototype put on display, Kawasaki also launched a video, showing the work the team has accomplished so far. The video shows the Ninja-like electric model being tested on the track and being put through its paces.
The clip explains how some of the technology the R&D team is working on will be used in future motorcycles without spelling “electric bike” out—that part was left to the prototype on stage with its “high voltage” badge.
Interestingly, the electric prototype uses a chain final drive instead of the more usual belt. It also addresses a concern some riders have about electric bikes: the gears. The bike is in fact equipped with a four-speed transmission—something that should please the transmission purists out there.
The concept of Kawasaki developing an electric motorcycle isn’t a new one. In April, a patent was published clearly showing the Team Green is working on a zero-emission powertrain, illustrated in a bike that looked like a Ninja derivative. We now know that not only is the company working on a new all-electric system but that it could be coming a lot sooner than we expected.
No timeline has been announced regarding the electric model nor promise that it will actually make it to production. According to Kawasaki Europe’s PR Manager Martin Lambert, interviewed by MCN, the prototype doesn’t necessarily put a time stamp on the project—it is mainly meant to act as the proof that Kawasaki is considering alternative technologies and powertrains.
I don’t know for you guys but I’d be down for an electric Ninja.
Photography by Kawasaki UK/Facebook