Kawasaki Electric Motorcycle: Sportbike with Gearbox
Kawasaki has revealed its electric motorcycle research project at EICMA 2019. Rather than a scooter or a superbike, Kawasaki has split the difference and created a mid-size electric sportbike. Although it’s not intended for production, what Kawasaki has developed is of great interest. Called the Kawasaki EV by the development team, let’s plug in and find out about it.
The Kawasaki EV is about the size of a Ninja 650. Rather than start from scratch, the Kawasaki EV uses suspension for other models, a trellis frame similar to some Z and Ninja models.
Horsepower claims are modest. Kawasaki claims just 27 horsepower during acceleration, and half that for cruising. There are no torque figures, and torque is what electric motors are all about.
Kawasaki outfitted the EV with a four-speed transmission. Unlike some gearbox-equipped electric motorcycles, the Kawasaki also has a clutch to go with the transmission, making the riding experience more like a traditional motorcycle.
“We have focused on the riding sensation during road testing combining an electric power source, which enables a high level of flexibility in torque and power delivery, with gear-shifting capability,” according to Yuji Horiuchi, President of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine Company. Horiuchi presented the bike to the EICMA 2019 audience.
While we don’t know the capacity of the battery pack, Kawasaki claims a range of about 62 miles. That’s certainly not enough to go to market with, so that reinforces that the Kawasaki EV is purely experiments.
There’s the ubiquitous CHAdeMO fast-charging system on the Kawasaki EV, along with the ability to use 240 or 120 V home outlets.
With a limited range, the weight of the Kawasaki EV is 483 pounds, about 15 pounds more than a Z900 ABS.
Testing of the Kawasaki EV was done on Kawasaki’s Autopolis test track, as well as public roads in Japan.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.