Kawasaki Motors Ltd’s (Kawasaki) new President and CEO, Hiroshi Ito, has a lot to say about Kawasaki’s future.  So he took to the podium at EICMA to tell the assembled crowd what is in store for Kawasaki and its products.   What he had to say is eye-opening, and it’s now quite clear that Kawasaki intends to fully embrace a carbon-neutral society.

To start, Mr. Ito showed off Kawasaki’s “new” logo.  It’s really not new; it is a historic Kawasaki logo that goes back 125 years.  However, it’s the new symbol of Kawasaki Motors, Ltd.

Kawasaki’s future plans

Soon after, his speech becomes more interesting.  Mr. Ito made an immediate commitment and a commitments for the future.

I would like to share a new commitment with you now: next year, in 2022, we will show a minimum of three electric vehicles globally.  That is a promise. – Mr. Hiroshi Ito, Kawasaki Motors, LTD President and CEO at EICMA

So even though Kawasaki seemed to be lagging in the electrification of motorcycles, it seems that they are confident enough with what they have in process to promise three new vehicles in the rapidly approaching (if not already here) 2022 model year.

Other methods of cleaner transportation

Even more interesting is Kawasaki’s plan to evaluate other forms of cleaner transportation.

In addition to electric vehicles, Kawasaki is looking at all options as we work towards achieving a carbon neutral society.

One example is a hydrogen engine. In Japan, all industries supported by the government are making great efforts to make hydrogen a practical domestic alternative are currently moving forward. The Kawasaki Group is taking on a key role in this project, leading the way in hydrogen production, transport, storage and use.

And just recently, on November 13, Kawasaki Motors decided to take the first steps in developing a hydrogen-powered motorcycle engine with Yamaha.
Of course, we will also look at the possibilities of other alternative fuels, like biofuel and eFuels.  – Mr. Hiroshi Ito, Kawasaki Motors, LTD President and CEO at EICMA

It’s nice to see that Team Green is evaluating other forms of cleaner transportation and not hanging its hat on only electric-powered motorcycles.  The fact that they are already developing a hydrogen-powered motorcycle engine together with Yamaha says that hydrogen power could be closer than many envisioned.

Kawasaki EICMA

Kawasaki’s hybrid motorcycle prototype.

Further, they are looking at other potential fuels like biofuel and eFuels.  This seems to indicate that Kawasaki is dead serious about cleaner transportation and willing to spend money to develop it.  From my perspective, Kawasaki looks to be leading the pack in the investigation of alternative power sources.  While I love internal combustion engines, I’m looking forward to what other alternatives Kawasaki will develop.  And it looks like some of those other alternatives would still utilize internal combustion.  It’s exciting.

It will be interesting to find out what Kawasaki rolls out for its three new electric vehicles.  Even better, it will be great to see if Team Green can come up with other viable solutions that could see internal combustion engines continuing long into the future.

Full speech text

Below is the full text of Mr. Ito’s speech:

Greetings, everyone. I am Hiroshi Ito, President and CEO of Kawasaki Motors, Ltd.

To start, please allow me to express my sincere support for everyone who has faced hardship during these difficult times.

Today, it is an honor to be able to see so many of Kawasaki fans here at the EICMA show. This past year, we have endeavored to meet the great shifts in market demand brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, our challenges continue. In particular, a shortage of semiconductors has caused supply chain delays and stoppages of key motorcycle components, greatly affecting our own supply chain. This situation is especially severe in the European market. Next year, I am confident that we will have a substantial model line-up and will be able to put plenty of products in the hands of customers.

As you know, in October, our company came was spun out from under the Kawasaki Heavy Industries umbrella and started operating as a new company, which has given us much more administrative freedom than we have enjoyed before. Please look behind you. That is the new brand symbol of Kawasaki Motors, Ltd. – a symbol that represents 125 years of Kawasaki history. The “Let the good times roll” slogan is not only our brand tagline; it is also our mission.

With our increased freedom, we are now able to quickly implement business polices and marketing strategies to adjust to market trends. I believe our new company’s mission is to drive global brand awareness of the Kawasaki Group as before. And I am more committed than ever to exceeding the expectations of our motorcycle customers.

I would like to share a new commitment with you now: next year, in 2022, we will show a minimum of three electric vehicles globally. That is a promise.

I have had a chance to ride an electric vehicle, and I was very impressed. Gasoline engines are fantastic, but electric power units are wonderful too.

In addition to electric vehicles, Kawasaki is looking at all options as we work towards achieving a carbon-neutral society.

One example is a hydrogen engine. In Japan, all industries supported by the government are making great efforts to make hydrogen a practical domestic alternative are currently moving forward. The Kawasaki Group is taking on a key role in this project, leading the way in hydrogen production, transport, storage, and use.

And just recently, on November 13, Kawasaki Motors decided to take the first steps in developing a hydrogen-powered motorcycle engine with Yamaha.

Of course, we will also look at the possibilities of other alternative fuels, like biofuel and eFuels.

Becoming a carbon-neutral society will not happen overnight. We will need to take many small steps. From both a production standpoint and a user standpoint, motorcycles create few CO2 emissions, so are environmentally friendly. Complementing our electric vehicles, we will still be developing innovative gasoline-powered machines.

As we introduce our new models, I am sure that you will agree that the Good Times from Kawasaki Motors are just beginning.

Today we are announcing the renewal of our smartphone connectivity application, RIDEOLOGY THE APP, to help riders experience Good Times. The new system enables communication between riders by using the Cloud and includes a function to allow riders to view their riding in 3D, contributing to a richer motorcycle experience for our customers; we are even continuing to study self-driving vehicles for the future.

Other new technology we are implementing, like ARAS and Kawasaki SPIN, will offer riders the peace of mind and the convenience to enjoy even more comfortable riding.

I hope you will all keep an eye on Kawasaki. Next year, you can expect us to deliver more great products to enhance your motorcycle life.

Please stay safe and let the good times roll!

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