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Kawasaki to launch electric bikes in November

Kawasaki will be the first major Japanese manufacturer to launch a production electric motorcycle, with two bikes slated to be unveiled later this year. Both will be A1-class 125 equivalents, with faired and naked versions on offer, rated at the A1 power limit of 11Kw (14.8bhp). They are likely to take the names Ninja E2 and Ninja E2-R, both of which have been trademarked by Kawasaki.

Although legally classed as A1s, the two Kawasaki’s should prove significantly quicker than the average 125. Why? Because electric motors have two rated power outputs – ‘continuous’ and ‘peak.’ Licencing classes use the lower ‘continuous’ figure, but the E2 and E2-R could produce peak power of up to 30bhp, closer to the 300cc class than any A1 125.

It’s no surprise that Kawasaki has pipped its big name rivals with a production electric bike. It has filed many patents on the subject and showed a prototype electric sports bike three years ago.

The E2 and E2-R could inherit some of the prototype’s features, including a four-speed gearbox – not necessarily needed, given the torque of an electric motor, but making the bikes more familiar to the average rider.

The news about Kawasaki comes shortly after Can Am announced a new electric bike range, but these aren’t due to launch until 2024, and as a major manufacturer, big K’s move is far more significant.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, commented: “Like Kawasaki adverts used to say ‘let the good times roll’ or ‘who can catch a Kawasaki?’ The bikes sound great, with a mix of performance and practicality, we’ll see. The next question is the price point. If they can combine pricing nearer to chinese levels than the exotics, with Japanese quality, they’ll clean up.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of MCN