The Green Team showcases the Ninjas’ with electric power, 4-speed gearbox and regenerative braking control

Kawasaki has finally spoken up. For a long time, the Japanese Green Team has been silent about their electric plans, despite being poked by the media a gazillion times. OK, for a moment of honesty here. The manufacturer had unveiled an electric Tron-ish concept bike - the Kawasaki J-Concept back in 2014, and again in 2018. A truly far-fetched idea, but nothing for the current bunch of masses. Now though, they is something cooking up.

Tethered to the elements of a Ninja 300 and a Ninja 650, Kawasaki showcased an electric powertrain concept at the recently concluded EICMA, 2019. While they released a video featuring the Ninja 300 EV pacing on the tracks, the Ninja 650 EV’s bones bolted with the electric powertrain was the attractive element at the Kawasaki stall during the unveiling of six new machines for the 2020 lineup.

Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology
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During 2016-19, however, leaked patents told us a few nit bits of an extensive, two-part cooling system for the electric motor that used oil-cooling being developed by Kawasaki. Then, there was another patent describing the Ninja 300 EV’s removable frame setup that could give one access to the batteries, probably for easy swapping.

Now, the same Ninja 300 EV was seen put through its paces on a track while Yoshimoto Matsuda, Senior Manager Innovation Department of KHI, confirmed that Kawasaki’s intention for the electric mobility began as early as the 2000s’. The baby Ninja is seen running on a newer electric heart, albeit a small one, that produces 27 hp of power and gives a measly range of 60 miles.

Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology
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Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology
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Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology
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Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology
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Yes, it is a prototype that is underpowered, offering a pitiful range and is heavy (483 lb). Thankfully, this prototype is here for something else. The focus for the engineers at the Japanese factory was the machine’s “riding sensation” involved with an electric motorcycle. All this development is a part of Kawasaki’s rider-centric development philosophy, ‘RIDEOLOGY’, which believes that their products are meant to be more than just taking you from one place to another - transport you to a world of fun and rewarding traits.

For the same reason, this Ninja comes equipped with a 4-speed gearbox on this electric powertrain. Kawasaki believes that this will appeal to the traditional motorcyclists who love making use of the wide band of torque available through the gear ratios. Making things more exciting is the thumb-activated regenerative braking that lets the rider controls the amount of energy recuperation while braking. How intuitive.

Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology Exterior
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Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology Exterior
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Kawasaki opened up their quota of electric powertrain technology Exterior
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The stands at the EICMA saw the Ninja 650 chassis showcasing Kawasaki’s electric project development with the 4-speed gearbox. The tubular frame has the removable left part bolted onto the headstock assembly - as seen in the patents - to remove the batteries and the motor for maintenance or replacement situations.

Although it is not clear when Kawasaki will pull up electric motorcycles in its lineup, the technology being developed are surely going to find their way onto production machines, maybe as soon as 2021. They’ll be “still fun to control, exciting, and a reflection of Kawasaki’s passion,” says the engineering veteran Yoshimoto Matsuda.

Honda could be the most technically advanced prodigy, but Kawasaki has been the boldest of the big Japanese Fours.

“Let the good times roll” – Kawasaki



Source: Motorcycle.com

Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read More
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