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Two Electric Kawasaki Streetbikes Coming for 2023
Earlier this year, Kawasaki revealed its first electric two-wheeler, but a lot of people were disappointed when they realized it was a kids’ balance bike called the Elektrode. Those hoping for an electric streetbike from Kawasaki won’t have to wait too much longer, as we can confirm two new models will be coming to the U.S. for the 2023 model year.
Kawasaki has made no secret of its plans for electric and hybrid two-wheelers, previously stating a goal of at least 10 models by 2025. The Elektrode was the first, but it will soon be joined by a sportbike and a naked model. The proof comes from an updated vehicle identification number (VIN) decoder for 2023 Kawasaki models that was released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The VIN decoder lists two models going by the unfamiliar code names NX011AP and NR011AP. The NX model is listed as a “Super Sports,” while the NR model is listed as a “Sports” model. For Kawasaki, this usually indicates a sportbike and a naked model, respectively. The Ninja 400, for example, is considered a “Super Sports” model while Kawasaki calls the Z400 a “Sports” model. The Ninja 400 has the model code EX400 while the Z400 is the ER400, so we can deduce the the NX is a sportbike and the NR is a naked model.
The last few columns on the right are what gives away the electric powertrain. After the Super Sports/Sports column, the VIN decoder lists the engine displacement, number of strokes in the engine cycle, number of cylinders, and the claimed engine output in kilowatts.
The NX and NR models have no listed displacement, zero strokes and zero cylinders, while producing a claimed output of 11 kW (14.8 hp). This tells us that the mystery models are not powered by an internal combustion engine, leaving us to assume an electric powertrain.
At a claimed 14.8 hp, the NX011 and NR011 should be more powerful than Kawasaki’s Z125 Pro minibike, but not as powerful as the KLX230. They also won’t be a match for the likes of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire or the Zero S. At 14.8 hp, they will be an improvement over Kawasaki’s original electric prototype, which only claimed 13.5 hp. Kawasaki’s electric prototype also had something other electric motorcycles lack: a four-speed manual transmission. It remains to be seen whether the NX011 and NR011 will offer a manual gearbox.
It also remains to be determined what Kawasaki will call these two models. The NX and NR names are clearly internal codenames, and we suspect Kawasaki will want to incorporate its established Ninja and Z branding.
We suspect Kawasaki will reveal its two electric motorcycles at one of the big motorcycle shows in the fall, either Intermot in October or EICMA in November. We will have more information here on Motorcycle.com as it becomes available.
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