In a patent published in late March of this year, it was revealed that Kawasaki has been contemplating an electric motorcycle since as far back as 2013. The patent goes a step further than most entering this space of late however, as it highlights designs for a swappable battery unit.

Ninja concept patent for Kawasaki Electric Motorcycle With Swappable Battery.
You can clearly see this is a Ninja concept.Free Patents Online

The patent was originally filed on July 3, 2013, but didn’t come to light until March 27, 2019. The figures included with the patent clearly show Ninja bodywork, but the kicker is a detachable portion of the frame that would allow riders to change out a spent battery for a fresh one. Another figure shows the need for a stand to do this, so it’s unlikely the design would be a viable solution to range and charge-time issues while away from home, but it could be a useful prospect for commuters who start and end at home.

Drawing of the main frame with a detachable portion on the left side.
The main frame with a detachable portion on the left side.Free Patents Online

There has been no announcement from Kawasaki whatsoever about the prospect of a forthcoming electric motorcycle. However it’s only a matter of time before Kawasaki and others make a bid for market share in this burgeoning segment.

Illustration of Kawasaki’s patent for electric motorcycle with swappable battery with frame detached.
With the frame detached.Free Patents Online

Another questionable aspect would be the strength of the frame itself. The patent describes a detachable portion of the frame that anchors to the static parts of the main frame, and that the detachable piece would be an integral part of the main frame. Stiffness for this detachable piece would be higher than the rest of the frame. The battery, when installed, would be supported from the bottom.

Illustration of Kawasaki’s patent for electric motorcycle with stand to get the battery out safely.
There’s a need for a stand to get the battery safely out.Free Patents Online

Up until now the electric motorcycle market has been dominated by relative newcomers to motorcycling. Zero is the most successful brand at this point, but Harley-Davidson is rolling out its LiveWire this year and Erik Buell has just announced the start of Fuell Motorcycles. There's also Energica and Lightning Motorcycles making headway in the market.

Front view of Kawasaki’s patent for electric motorcycle with swappable battery.
Will we see this project come to fruition?Free Patents Online

We’re definitely interested to see if Kawasaki follows through on this project. Stay tuned.