Hybrid vehicles aren’t the latest development that we’ve seen in the automobile industry. There are many of them available in the market. However, we haven’t had a hybrid motorcycle yet. Well, Kawasaki has its own visions in which hybrid motorcycles play a key role.
A few patent filings have surfaced which tell us that Kawasaki has been working on a hybrid motorcycle for quite some time now. These patent drawings have been filed with the Japan patent office in Dec 2017 and then with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a year later.
The drawings reveal a motorcycle equipped with an electric motor as well as an IC engine. The hybrid system will make both the power producing mills work in unison to run the rear wheel. There is also an option of running the motorcycle with the help of only one power source – either the electric motor or the IC engine.
We can also see the entire layout. Things are different in cars as there is more space to accommodate parts. When it comes to motorcycles, space restriction is one of the major issues. And it seems Kawasaki has dealt with it.
The layout shows an AC electric motor (#4 in the diagrams) and combustion engine form a single unit along with the transmission, all sharing the same casing. The battery (#21) is located above the engine between the frame spars where a conventional fuel tank would normally be found. In this configuration, the tank (#15) can be mounted to the side of the seat or, alternatively, outside the frame beside the battery. In either case, the fuel tank is kept to the left side of the motorcycle, balanced with a coolant tank on the right side. In theory, this keeps all the heaviest parts close to the centre of gravity.
All this sounds too good to be true. Filing of patents doesn’t mean that the drawings will take shape into an actual production bike. That’s not necessary. Kawasaki might have done it just for R&D purpose, who knows. But at least we now know that hybrid motorcycles are possible and we could encounter them in the future.