Short circuit shocker: Kawasaki hint at electric future with new film series

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Kawasaki have revealed their tenth YouTube short film (below) detailing the latest evolution of their 'EV Endeavor' electric motorcycle project, showing what appears to be a middleweight-equivalent machine taking to both the road and track.

Wrapped in a blacked-out Ninja 300 fairing set in previous episodes, the latest 20 second short shows the electric test mule stripped of all bodywork; revealing a digital dash, minimalist trellis chassis and electric motor wired to an external unit.

Scroll back through the previous nine videos and you will also see further footage of the 'Endeavor' on circuit, demonstrations of acceleration, close-up shots of the motor and more. The previous clip also claims the bike is 'packed with innovative technology' and points to a number of Kawasaki patented parts surrounding the electric motor.

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The film series comes following the unveiling of an electric bike concept to the public at the Eicma motorcycle show, in Milan, in November 2019. Despite already testing it around their Autopolis test track and on Japanese roads, Kawasaki insist this is simply a research project.

"There’s no date that it would be available, it’s just to prove to people that [Kawasaki] are interested in alternative technologies and we can explore that," European PR Manager, Martin Lambert, told MCN at the reveal event last year.

A side view of the Kawasaki EV project

"From a Kawasaki point of view, we make bridges, planes and spaceships, so it would be wrong to assume that if we don’t make a petrol two wheeler, we can only make an electric. We’re exploring types of power, vehicle layout and vehicle usage in lots of other ways, too." 

Different to electric projects we’d seen from some other manufacturers, this 219kg machine used a chain for final drive and a four-speed traditional gearbox. Because of the incredible torque you get from an electric motor, many electric bikes just use one long gear and do away with the shifter altogether.

What's more, rather than chasing superbike-emulating performance, Kawasaki opted to build something that sits in the middleweight sector with the look and feel of a Ninja 650 to appeal to a younger market.

A claimed power of up to 26.8bhp is available upon acceleration, with a cruising output of around 13.4bhp. A range of around 100km was also promised, however these numbers may have now changed following further development. Unlike the bike seen in the latest video, the Eicma concept also appeared to feature a fatter swingarm and a dual front disc and caliper set-up.

Lamberts comments were added to by President of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Yuji Horiuchi, who said in a speech at the show: "KHI research has so far been based on a mid-capacity donor machine with let us say more 'rider features' than current EV machines in the market.

"We have focused on the riding sensation during road testing combining electric power source – which enables high level of flexibility in torque/power delivery – with gear-shifting capability.

"The result is a machine delivering good rider feeling in line with our overall mission of Rideology. Rest assured though, we are finding many more avenues to explore to expand the excitement of control on two wheels."

Kawasaki electric project revealed at Eicma 2019

Lambert continued: "We didn’t just want to make an EV for electric bike customers. We started by thinking what existing Kawasaki customers would want from an electric bike and the feeling of involvement you get from changing gear is important to a lot of motorcyclists." 

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade