Personally, I’m quite a fan of electric vehicles. Although electric cars and motorcycles have yet to catch on in the Philippines where I’m from, interest for the few electric vehicles plying the streets has seen a noticeable increase. In fact, I rode my electric mountain bike to the cafe which I’m writing this story in.
Now, as much as I believe that EVs are part of the future of electric mobility, I also love the sound, experience, and overall feel of a powerful internal combustion engine, especially when it comes to motorcycles. Ever since I started riding motorbikes, I’ve gravitated towards powerful sportbikes and naked bikes—machines that output nearly as much horsepower as a family car. Among the machines in my stable have been the Yamaha MT-10, Kawasaki Ninja, and Triumph Street Triple, just to name a few.
When it comes to cars, on the other hand, small, compact hatchbacks have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, with a Suzuki Swift and Mazda 2 currently occupying our garage. Indeed, if only the infrastructure where I’m from was ready for it, I’d have loved to have a small electric car like a Nissan Leaf in my stable.
Perhaps this is why when I saw this video on YouTube about a custom Nissan Leaf rocking a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R engine, my eyes were glued to the screen. Now, you can spend the better part of 11 minutes indulging yourself in some truly satisfying build footage, detailed explanations, and technical details surrounding this custom build, so I’m not going to spoil that much for you. All I can say is that a car like this is one of the coolest crossovers between the electric car and motorcycle worlds I’ve ever seen.
On the one hand, you have a car, the Nissan Leaf, which has been designed with utility, practicality, efficiency, and zero-emissions in mind. The last thing on the minds of Nissan’s engineers when designing the leaf was performance—lightning fast acceleration, mind-boggling top speeds, and razor sharp handling. On the other hand, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is the furthest thing away from the idea of a Nissan Leaf. It’s a compact, lightweight superbike producing more power than most compact hatchbacks out there. It’s loud, powerful, and anything but practical.
The end result of stuffing a ZX-10R engine in the back of a Nissan Leaf, as has been done by Derek Young with this wild all-wheel-drive hybrid Leaf, is a car that, based on the video at least, is surprisingly practical, yet an absolute joy to drive. It comes with a few cool quirks, too, which, if you’re a car and bike nerd like myself, will surely bring a smile to your face. Take, for example, the LMP-style bump start when the Leaf uses its electric motor to start moving, while springing the Ninja’s motor to life. The fact that Derek Young used the stock fuel tank of the ZX-10R in the trunk of the leaf is a really cool feature, too.