As we step into late September 2023, Kawasaki has been providing tantalizing glimpses into its electric and hybrid motorcycle development for over a year now. The world has eagerly awaited these innovations since at least 2019 when discussions about their electric bike plans first began. Shortly thereafter, in 2020, the buzz around their hybrid motorcycle plans began to circulate.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when Kawasaki’s internal discussions began, it’s clear that the company has been working diligently on these projects. They offered a preview of both their electric and hybrid motorcycle prototypes at the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours race in Japan. Attendees at the event had the opportunity to witness both bikes in action on the circuit, while the rest of the world eagerly consumed photos and videos of these groundbreaking prototypes.
Fast forward a couple of months to November 2022, when EICMA 2022 took place in Milan, Italy. There, Kawasaki pulled the covers off not one, but three remarkable prototypes: the Ninja EV, the Z EV, and their hybrid EV, aptly abbreviated as HEV. While the Ninja and Z EV prototypes were primarily designed as short-range commuter bikes with removable, swappable batteries, the HEV was conceived as a long-range, fun motorcycle.
Ninja e-1 and Z e-1 Electric Motorbikes
Now, in late September 2023, Kawasaki UK has officially announced the impending arrival of the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1 electric motorbikes. Although specific release dates haven’t been confirmed yet, the company assures us that these highly anticipated models are “coming soon.” They’ve even given us a sneak peek at the production form and livery of these bikes through a handful of official promotional images.
Recently, thanks to the Turin Chronicle (or Torino Cronaca), we’ve caught a glimpse of what could be the production livery for the Kawasaki HEV. The newspaper posted a video reel on Instagram, which has already garnered nearly three thousand likes as of the time of writing.
In the video, a photo minivan initially partially blocks the view of a motorcycle as they round a corner. Inside the minivan, an individual with long blonde hair is busy shooting video and/or photos. Meanwhile, a man in a black sweatshirt and jeans holds up white papers and attempts to prevent the Torino Cronaca team from filming or photographing the bike. This, of course, only encourages them to zoom in, as you can see in the video.
While Kawasaki has previously showcased the HEV in public, what we’re potentially witnessing for the first time is the finished graphics and appearance of this upcoming model. Although nothing is official until Kawasaki makes the announcement, the white and Kawasaki-green livery closely resembles the graphics of the recently revealed Ninja e-1 and Z e-1.
Moreover, the graphic on the side of the bike clearly labels it as a “Ninja HEV.” This confirmation aligns with our expectations given the extensive fairing and design of the HEV we’ve seen so far. Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to see these details coming together.
As for an official release date for the Kawasaki HEV in any market, that information remains unclear at the moment. However, EICMA 2023 is just around the corner, scheduled for early November. This event coincides with the flurry of new model announcements for 2024 by manufacturers, so stay tuned for further updates as Kawasaki’s electric and hybrid motorcycles continue to shape the future of two-wheeled transportation.