The automotive sector is up to its kneecaps in the global shift from fossil fuels to electrification, but major motorcycle manufacturers have so far dipped nothing past their their big toes into the electrified waters. We expect that will slowly begin changing in the coming years, a notion that's buoyed by a recent presentation shared by Kawasaki's massive industrial owner. But instead of going all-in on batteries and electric motors, Kawasaki will take a measured approach to minimizing emissions with a multi-pronged plan.
Right now, Kawasaki is testing an electric motorcycle that's codenamed Endeavor. It is rumored to have performance similar to a 400cc gasoline bike and is powered by a large lithium ion battery pack. We expect a production motorcycle with a Ninja-like full fairing sometime in the near future. But Kawasaki is scattering its zero-emission eggs in multiple baskets. According to this slideshow, the company "will accelerate the development of electric motors, hybrids and hydrogen."
The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer teased its hybrid future late last year with a futuristic-looking vehicle design that we don't believe reflects a production model. But the hybridized powertrain, which will feature an internal combustion engine paired with an electric motor and a small lithium ion battery pack, should provide an interesting blend of performance and efficiency.
We know very little about Kawasaki's hydrogen intentions, but the fact that it also plans to work on uses for the fuel in the marine and aviation industries means it's likely committing a significant investment into the technology. A few images from the company's slideshow suggest that, similar to Toyota, it may be looking to use hydrogen to fuel combustion engines instead of electricity-generating fuel cells, but we'll just have to wait and see.