Another Kawasaki hybrid is on the way

The Kawasaki hybrid motorcycle project is seemingly preparing its third product, with a new hybrid touring bike shown in patent filings

Kawasaki Ninja 7 Hybrid - riding

A new Kawasaki hybrid bike is in the works, as shown by newly discovered patent drawings.

The drawings, published by Italian outlet Motociclismo, show a motorcycle based on the Kawasaki Versys touring bike, but with the regular Versys’ internal combustion motor swapped out for a hybrid power unit.

As you may expect, this is a carryover from Kawasaki’s existing hybrid bikes, the faired Ninja 7 Hybrid and naked Z 7 Hybrid. This means a 9kW electric motor working in conjunction with a 451cc parallel twin-cylinder combustion engine.

A ‘Versys Hybrid’ would be something quite different from Kawasaki’s existing part-electric offerings. Both the Ninja 7 Hybrid and Z 7 Hybrid fit into categories - sports and naked, respectively - in which ability over long distance rides is not necessarily a central pillar of what makes a strong package in the class. The touring segment, though, is very different in that respect.

This doesn’t just mean range, because, of course, the benefit of a hybrid over a straight electric is the ability to keep going once the battery is out of juice. But, maintaining a good performance deep into a long ride is obviously more guaranteed with a traditional power unit in which the power is supplied by effectively one source to the rear wheel.

The 1.4kWh battery Kawasaki uses in the Ninja 7 Hybrid and Z 7 Hybrid might not sound like it is especially suited to longer distance riding on its own, but, in conjunction with the 451cc parallel twin, 69bhp is supplied to the rear wheel in both of those models. That’s a little bit more, but not massively so, than the Versys 650’s 66bhp.

Kawasaki hasn’t yet committed to totally replacing a combustion model with a hybrid of similar performance but, should a hybrid Versys prove effective over longer distances (Kawasaki claims 250cc-like fuel consumption from its two existing hybrid bikes), it doesn’t seem out of the question that the Versys 650 could be on the block for its arrival.

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