Nearly a month after introducing its first hybrid electric motorcycle to the world, Kawasaki Europe unveiled the Z7 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) at EICMA 2023. People familiar with Kawasaki’s lineup tendencies probably won’t find this surprising, since faired and unfaired versions (or Ninja and Z versions) of the same platforms tend to arrive in pairs.
The introduction of the Ninja 7 HEV brought a certain jolt of excitement to the industry. That’s partly because of its novelty, but it’s also because of the HEV’s clear appeal to riders who may have felt a little underwhelmed by the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1 pure electrics that Team Green introduced just prior.
The Kawasaki Ninja 7 HEV not only looked good—it also looked like fun. Now the Kawasaki Z7 HEV is here to give riders in areas where it’s eventually sold a naked option for that fun, as well. Except, well—the design delineation between the Ninja 7 HEV and Z7 HEV isn’t quite as clear as it is between other Ninja and Z pairs.
Still, subtle styling differences can make a major change in how you perceive a thing. Just ask anyone who only loves their favorite hoodie in a specific color, but wouldn’t even consider it in another color. A specific variation on a thing might speak to you in terms of its design—or it might not.
2024 Kawasaki Z7 HEV
The 2024 Kawasaki Z7 HEV features the same unique, combined electric motor and combustion engine powertrain as was previously introduced on the Ninja 7 HEV.
Kawasaki refers to both of these bikes as “strong hybrids,” and touts them as the first mass-production motorcycles in the world in this segment. Considering that it’s a segment that Kawasaki seems to have created, it’s not wrong. Will other manufacturers follow, or will Team Green stand alone in this particular field? That remains to be seen.
In any case, the Z7 HEV comes with both a 451cc parallel twin combustion engine and a 9 kilowatt electric motor on board. It can be ridden as a pure EV with up to 12 kilometers (about 7.4 miles) of range before it switches to the ICE option. Eco-Hybrid mode sees the electric motor and combustion engine working together.
The Kawasaki Z7 HEV is clutchless, like the Ninja 7 HEV—but there’s a manual mode if you still want to shift. Like the Ninja 7 HEV, the Ninja e-1 and the Z e-1, Kawasaki has also outfitted the Z7 HEV with a Walk mode so riders can easily maneuver both forward and in reverse at walking speeds. This comes in particularly handy for parking. An idle stop function that halts the combustion engine when stationary is also standard on the Z7 HEV.
Riders looking for a small burst of power can also use Sport mode on the Z7 HEV and take advantage of the available E-Boost function. It allows a brief burst of full power for about five seconds, which would likely come in handy when passing slow traffic but could of course also just be fun. Kawasaki also mentions that since the Z7 HEV and Ninja 7 HEV are truly hybrid machines, their electric motors charge themselves in operation.
Colors, Pricing, and Availability
Gallery: 2024 Kawasaki Z7 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
The 2024 Kawasaki Z will be available in two colorways: Metallic Bright Silver/Metallic Matte Lime Green/Ebony, or Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray/Ebony/Metallic Graphite Gray.
Pricing has yet to be announced for either the 2024 Kawasaki Z7 HEV or the 2024 Kawasaki Ninja 7 HEV as of November 8, 2023.
As for availability, both of Kawasaki’s strong hybrid motorcycles have so far only been announced for release in Europe. They are expected to begin rolling into dealerships sometime in spring 2024, so presumably prices will be announced soon.
Hopefully, Kawasaki is already considering whether to release these in North America as well, because we’ve observed quite a bit of US interest in the Ninja 7 HEV so far. At this time, Kawasaki has not officially announced any plans for release anywhere outside of Europe.
It's worth noting that many times, manufacturers choose to announce plans for releases of new models as they go. So, just because a given model has not yet been announced for a given market doesn't necessarily mean that it won't happen in the future.