Kawasaki last week demonstrated two new technologies that we're likely to see introduced to the company's motorcycles in the not too distant future.
One of these was a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will enable a Kawasaki motorcycle to travel in zero-emission mode for short distances. Another technology was an artificial intelligence system that will enable a rider to gather information from the motorcycle via natural speech.
A number of companies have started selling battery-electric motorcycles, including iconic brand Harley-Davidson. However, the range on these tend to be low, especially if there's a lot of highway driving or canyon carving involved. We're talking well under 150 miles.
Kawasaki's hybrid powertrain has an electric motor to deliver a zero-emission mode that cities are likely to require in the future, while also offering internal-combustion power to eliminate any range anxiety. Furthermore, the two power sources can also work together to deliver a serious performance kick.
Unfortunately, Kawasaki hasn't provided any details on the powertrain. The company said development is still at a very early stage, and that its main focus now is on launching its electric motorcycle, the EV Endeavor. The electric motorcycle was shown as a prototype in 2019 and Kawasaki is yet to say when sales will start.
As for the company's AI system, it's being developed as a voice activation-style interface that will enable a rider to communicate with his or her motorcycle using a smartphone as an intermediary. For example, the rider would be able to ask for useful info like how much range is left or when the next service should be. The system would also be connected to a cloud network which could provide info on road, traffic and weather conditions.
Kawasaki said it is already testing motorcycles equipped with the AI system on public roads, and that the technology will be compatible with a number of Kawasaki motorcycles already on sale.