At the EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show next week, Kawasaki is expected to unveil three new motorcycles. While the first two will likely fall into their sport and adventure touring categories, the third has been the subject of wider speculation but very well may be the company’s first true electric motorcycle.
This wouldn’t be the first time Kawasaki took to the world’s foremost motorcycle show to unveil its electric ambitions.
Just two years ago at the last EICMA show before the pandemic, Kawasaki wowed onlookers with the first public revealing of its electric motorcycle ambitions.
A prototype electric motorcycle was unveiled as part of an EV development project, but little was known about the bike at the time.
It was apparent that the bike was built on a Ninja 650 base and featured a 4-speed gearbox, but that was about as much as the world could glean from the prototype on display.
Once Kawasaki shared the prototype bike’s specs though, the excitement quickly cooled.
With a peak power output of just 20 kW (27 hp) and a lower continuous power rating of 10 kW (13 hp), it was a Ninja in frame only.
But that was a whole two years ago, and Kawasaki could have something new for us to see at this year’s show.
It would certainly fit with the pace of development, as we’ve seen several patents for electric motorcycle designs come out of Kawasaki’s R&D department.
And considering that Kawasaki has pledged to convert all of its motorcycles to entirely electric power by 2035, the time is ripe for the company to finally roll out its first electric motorcycle.
Kawasaki isn’t alone among the major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers in dragging its feet on electric vehicles. We’ve also seen delayed progress on electric motorcycles from the other members of the Big Four: Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki.
Honda has so far mostly focused on electric scooters before going all-in on a full-size electric motorcycle.
Yamaha has similarly started with the lowest hanging fruit of minimal power electric scooters that are quicker and easier to develop, not to mention likely more profitable.
Suzuki is currently focusing on an electric scooter for the Indian market, which is expected to be released later this year.
All four had previously signed onto a consortium to develop swappable batteries for electric motorcycles, though we’ve yet to see any concrete evidence of developments from that agreement.
Should Kawasaki ultimately unveil a full-size electric motorcycle at this year’s EICMA show, it might have needed to develop its own battery without the help of other major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.
Electrek will be at the show to report on all of the updates from Milan, so stay tuned next week to hear the biggest announcement here first.
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Author: Micah Toll