Kawasaki forging on with hybrid power as new patents surface

Kawasaki looks to be pushing on with hybrid powertrain as new patent shows combustion-powered bike backed with an electric motor

Kawasaki Hybrid drive patent application

NEW patents have surfaced that seem to show a Kawasaki motorcycle utilising an innovative hybrid propulsion system.

The hybrid-drive motorcycle has, for some, been seen as something of a holy grail for the future of motorcycle travel. You get the emotive and involving experience of riding a petrol-powered bike, backed up with the torque and green energy tagline of an electric motor.

Likewise, the link between the petrol power unit and the electric system could help to put to bed some of the range anxiety that is associated with riding a purely electric machine.

The patent images show a convention petrol-powered machine that seems to be based around the design of a traditional touring motorcycle. Beneath the skin there lies an electric motor and battery pack that is combined with the conventional petrol engine. The throttle works in the traditional way, although it is combined with a four-way joystick that can select specific riding maps and what looks like a boost button.

The four-way joystick is used to select different riding and battery regeneration modes. As the chart below advises, the top level utilises the engine and electric motor at the same time, with the clutch and gearbox used in a conventional manner. The next level down works in a similar manner, although with the electric motor working purely to recover electrical energy to be fed back into the battery. The bottom mode on the chart below shows a purely electric mode, with the gearbox still active although the combustion engine is now stopped, and the bike runs like a fully electric bike.

Below the joystick is a large button marked ‘36’, which is reported to be a ‘boost’ button that allows the rider to call on some extra energy from the electrical for short, sharp bursts of acceleration.

While Kawasaki looks to be at the forefront of the battle to maintain a foothold in the future of motorcycling, we’ve seen little more from the company other than patent applications. The only rolling concept that exists is the Endeavor electric motorcycle project. That bike is a purely electric machine, although it could conceivably become a hybris further done the line should Team Green sign off on a design such as this.