It’s the beginning of October, 2022—which means we’re only a few short months away from 2023. That, in turn, means that 2025 is only two years away. If you recall, that’s the year by which Kawasaki announced a plan to offer over 10 different types of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in markets throughout the world.
That original announcement came in October, 2021. For several months after that, the company stayed pretty quiet about its activities behind the scenes. By the time that the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race rolled around in August, 2022, Kawasaki decided it was high time to let at least a couple of its projects out of the bag. That’s when we first laid eyes on a pair of electric and hybrid electric prototype machines, each bearing unmistakable Kawasaki DNA all over them.
Since both machines were prototypes, it wasn’t surprising that Kawasaki didn’t choose to reveal details of either vehicle at that time. VIN decoder information indicates that an upcoming electric Kawasaki motorbike should produce the equivalent of 14.8 horsepower, firmly placing it in 125cc-equivalent territory—which makes a lot of sense as a first foray into an electric bike meant for adults. After all, an awful lot of the world’s millions of riders rely on 125cc motorbikes to get where they’re going every single day.
Fast-forward to October 4, 2022—the first day of the first Intermot held in three years. Just two months after it first unveiled those prototypes in Japan, and Kawasaki Europe wheeled its EV motorcycle prototype out at an Intermot press conference.
Kawasaki Motors Europe managing director Masaya Tsurono gave a wide-ranging speech about the future plans of the company, which most definitely include both electric and hybrid electric vehicles. This prototype—only intended for display during the press conference—will “form the basis of an actual future production machine,” according to Kawasaki.
The remainder of the speech gave the broad strokes of Kawasaki’s intended vehicular approach, which will continue to include combustion vehicles, as well as further research into the realms of e-fuel and bio-fuel. (Given the discussion at a recent event held by the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers and the eFuel Alliance, announcement of this stance comes as no surprise.)
What about the bike itself? It looks very clearly like an electrified Z. Interestingly, as you can see in the video, the prototype sports a chain drive. That’s not a common choice among existing two-wheeled EV-makers. We know it’s a prototype, but that word can encompass a wide array of pre-production iterations of a thing—and this one looks to be pretty far along in its development process. We look forward to seeing the next steps, which are surely coming soon.