Kawasaki is one of the Japanese Big Four motorcycle manufacturers, yet they’ve had little to show in the way of electric vehicles. That makes the recent uncovering of a Kawasaki patent application for a battery swapping Ninja-style electric motorcycle all the more surprising.
The patent application in question shows what appears to be a Kawasaki Ninja, yet with an unfamiliar battery and motor combo in place of the bike’s conventional engine.
Electric motorcycles are becoming increasingly common these days. And while an electric Kawasaki would still be big news, it’s the unique battery system seen in the patent that could be the most innovative part.
The tubular frame may look conventional, but it’s actually designed to be removable, perhaps with a hinge or latch mechanism. As seen in the patent drawings, the side of the frame separates from the rest of the bike behind the steering stem and in front of the rear swingarm. That allows a dolly or rack to slide under the motorcycle and grab the battery. After sliding the battery out, a second fully charged battery could presumably be installed in its place.
The entire process looks similar to the original Better Place electric car battery swap system designed in Israel, that unfortunately ran out of funding in 2013.
But Kawasaki might not have to worry about the same funding issues if it has the backing of the Big Four. As we reported earlier, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki have joined forces to create a new battery swap and charging standard for electric motorcycles.
At the time we didn’t know what that system would look like, but this new patent from Kawasaki may finally shed some light on where the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers are headed.
Breaking the kWh barrier for electric motorcycles
Swappable and removable batteries have long been the holy grail for smaller electric vehicles. Even as charge times for electric motorcycles reduce to just 35 minutes, it’s hard to beat the speed and convenience of a two-minute battery swap. For anyone that wants to conveniently tour or travel long distances on an electric motorcycle, battery swapping would be the best way to do it until major battery advances allow for drastic increases in range.
For now though, the major problem is that lithium-ion batteries are still bulky and heavy. While an electric bicycle’s 500 Wh battery is fairly light at about 5 kg (12 lb), an urban electric motorcycle that tops out at 72 km/h (45 mph) has a barely manageable 1.8 kWh and 16 kg (35 lb) battery. Much more than that and most people won’t be able to comfortably remove a battery pack from their vehicle.
But with Kawasaki’s new system, the battery appears to be as large as a standard electric motorcycle battery. The company has designed some type of dolly or battery cart that interfaces with the frame and battery to handle the heavy lifting.
While this won’t likely be an at-home process, one could imagine a network of battery swap stations like the Better Place model. The main hurdle would be standardizing a single system to make the economics work — but that sounds like the exact reason why the Japanese Big Four joined forces in the first place.
It’s too soon to say if Kawasaki actually plans to bring this battery swapping electric Ninja to market, or if this is just part of the drawing board process. But the mere existence of these designs shows that Kawasaki is actively working towards electric motorcycles, and that’s definitely good news.
Quote from electrek.co
All new Kawasaki motorcycles and scooters come as standard with a 2 year unlimited mileage warranty and 12 months RAC cover.
Warranty Plus is an additional 2 year unlimited mileage Kawasaki Factory warranty extension of your original warranty. If it is taken out at the time of purchase of the motorcycle we are able to offer this at the preferential rates shown below giving you 4 years peace of mind.
Warranty Plus is transferrable both on private sale or in the event of a bike being traded in and will therefore enhance the value of your machine at this time.
There are no claims limits, no claims fees, no added paperwork.
Up to 850cc
Costs are inclusive of VAT of 20%
Please talk to a member of our sales team to organise this cover for you. 01508 471919
Kawasaki warrants products with extended warranty to be free of manufacturing defects for an additional 24 months from the expiry date of the original manufacturer's warranty. The following products can be covered for private use* only:
* Private use - a private user is defined as "any person who is acting for purposes which are not related to his trade, business or profession".
** Street-legal Motorcycles - only models sold as street legal by Kawasaki Motors UK may be covered.
If, within the extended warranty period, a failure occurs which is determined by Kawasaki to be caused by a manufacturing defect, Kawasaki will, at its discretion, arrange for the repair or replacement of the necessary parts at no cost to the customer. This can be carried out by any authorised Kawasaki Dealer. However, it is recommended that repairs and servicing are done by the original selling dealer who has a full history and knowledge of each product they have sold.
Note the following terms used throughout this document:
This warranty contains obligations and exclusions solely on the part of Kawasaki Motors Europe N.V. and not on the part of any dealer.
Nothing in this document shall be construed as an agency between Kawasaki and any of its authorised dealers or their staff.
Under current EU Consumer Law, customers have certain statutory rights contained within legislation governing the sale of goods to consumers (private users). This warranty does not in any way detract from or affect the statutory rights of the customer.
Kawasaki will not accept responsibility if, in its sole opinion, the part or parts require repair or replacement as a direct result of:
a) Alteration from standard specification in a manner, which affects the performance, durability or safety of the product or any of its component parts or genuine Kawasaki accessories, e.g.:
b) The use of lubricating oils, fuel or other fluids (including cleaning materials) which are not in accordance with the recommendations contained in the owner's manual.
c) Improper uses, improper repair (this includes fitting of non-genuine or 'pattern' parts), accidental or fire damage and contamination by or submergence in water.
d) Deterioration due to normal wear and tear in service. The warranty does not cover routine service adjustment or normal replacement of service items (such as oils, fluids, spark plugs and filters), or wear and tear items (such as batteries, brake and clutch friction materials, drive chains or belts and tyres, cables and bearings). However, such items are covered if replacement is required as a direct result of a manufacturing or material defect.
e) Any competitive racing or related use.
f) Any damage or consequential damage caused by accident or by owner's or operator's neglect or abuse.
g) Improper storage or deterioration from the elements.
The warranty may not apply if:
i) The periodic maintenance and servicing is not carried out by an authorised Kawasaki dealer at the appropriate intervals specified in the relevant owner's manual. Evidence of this servicing must be produced, if requested, at the time of any warranty claim. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure the service record book is kept up to date by the servicing dealer. It is advisable also to keep copies of any service or repair invoices in case the book is lost.
ii) Any problem experienced is not reported to a Kawasaki Dealer within a reasonable time or the motorcycle is not properly inspected by that dealer. The owner should take all possible steps to prevent further damage as soon as any problem is apparent. Any consequential damage that is caused by the continued use of the product after a problem has been identified may not be covered by this warranty.
The warranty covers private use only. The warranty will not apply if the unit is used for any business or commercial purpose.
The following items are not covered:
In the event of a breakdown it is the owner's responsibility to ensure the product is taken to an authorised Kawasaki Dealer for attention. Kawasaki will not be responsible for recovery costs or any other costs associated with the transportation of a product to a Kawasaki Dealer.
The extended warranty plan can be transferred to subsequent private owners of the covered product at no cost. Applications can be made by using the warranty transfer form in the warranty booklet or through any Kawasaki dealer.
The plan may be cancelled and a refund made in full at the purchaser's request within 30 days of purchase. An administration fee of £17 will be deducted from the refund.
A refund will also be considered after the start of the extended warranty period in case of theft or total loss due to an accident. In these cases the refund will be made upon the following basis:
This right to cancel is in addition to and does not in any way detract from or affect the statutory rights of the customer. Any refunds will be made by Kawasaki UK after application to and approval by Kawasaki.
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