Want a motorcycle with the capabilities of a gasoline engine, but also the efficiency and clean emissions of an electric motor? That technology exists in hybrid cars, but it’s slow coming to the world of motorcycles. A teaser video from Kawasaki shows that the Japanese manufacturer is working on bringing the tech to market, though.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen patents from various manufacturers, including most of the Big Four, showing hybrid drivetrains. These bikes combine gasoline and electric power, usually aimed towards maximizing range. Electric motorcycles have limited battery range, but are more efficient in urban riding, and have lower emissions. Gasoline-powered motorcycles have the potential for far greater range, since you can refuel them in much less time than it takes to recharge an electric motorcycle’s batteries.
With that in mind, some OEMs have designed hybrid powertrains that use a gasoline engine to keep an electric bike’s batteries recharged. It’s a sort of workaround, and it seems a bit inefficient, and maybe not very exciting.
Kawasaki’s design seems to be aimed at having both an electric motor and gasoline engine that can put power to the rear wheel. Theoretically, this would allow for zippy performance on open roadways, as well as quick refueling when you wanted to take your bike on longer jaunts. Around town, you’d switch to the environmentally-friendly electric motor, with no worries about running down your batteries once you leave city limits. If you really want optimal performance, you can tap into both the electric and gasoline powertrains.
At least, that’s what Kawi’s video teases. We’ll see if it actually comes to market.