As the global motorcycle industry strengthens its focus on achieving carbon neutrality, Kawasaki wants us to know that it’s right there in the mix. Eager to show that green is more than just the brand color, the OEM adopted the phrase “Go with Green Power” as the overarching theme for its EICMA 2022 presentation. Like other legacy OEMs, the brand is keen to both explore new technology and also keep one foot planted in familiar territory. 

On November 8, 2022, Kawasaki gave the world a glimpse at its future plans—some geared toward carbon neutrality, and some not. First and foremost, Team Green proudly showed off not one, not two, but three electric and hybrid electric vehicles: The Ninja EV, Z EV, and Hybrid EV. All three are production prototypes, according to Kawasaki Motors president Hiroshi Ito, who was on hand to introduce them to the world. 

While we’ve previously had fleeting glimpses at Kawasaki’s fully-electric and hybrid bike projects in the past, this is the fullest view we’ve had so far. Since they’re production prototypes, that of course means that full details aren’t available just yet—but here’s what we know so far. 

The Kawasaki Ninja EV and Z EV, as we’ve seen between our fingers, bear more than a passing resemblance to their piston-powered Ninja and Z siblings. If you’re fond of Kawasaki’s Ninja and Z design language, then chances are excellent that you’ll find plenty to appreciate here. These two production prototypes, Ito said, should become actual production motorcycles for customers to purchase sometime in 2023. The batteries are removable, so they can be charged away from the bike—but exact details beyond that aren’t clear just yet. 

Over on the Hybrid Electric Vehicle side of the equation, Kawasaki’s HEV is also a production prototype—but the production version won’t be available as soon as either the Ninja or Z EVs. Instead, the timeline here is production in 2024. While the Ninja and Z EVs are firmly aimed at commuter riders who require shorter ranges to go about their daily business, the HEV is aimed at commuting, fun riding, and everything in between. That’s also not terribly surprising, given the fact that it will operate using both electric and piston power. As with the battery electric vehicles, full details aren’t available just yet. 

President Ito also spoke about Kawasaki’s goal to reach a carbon neutral society, and stated that the company is committed to pursuing multiple methods to reach this goal—including bringing Kawasaki MXGP Team Principal Kimi Raikkonen out onstage before enumerating the building blocks the firm wants to use to reach this goal. 

What about Kawasaki’s hydrogen-powered motorcycle project? Currently, the firm sees these models becoming practically viable sometime in the early 2030s, dependent upon supply infrastructure. While Team Green is investing in development of battery electric and hybrid electric two-wheelers, it’s also not ready to give up on combustion power just yet. Between 2024 and 2025, the company says it will release between 30 and 35 new combustion-powered motorcycles around the world—and about half of these will appear in the European market. 

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