If it seems like Kawasaki’s been showing off its progress in creating alternatively-powered vehicles at a record pace in recent months, that’s because it has been.
Back in October 2023, it revealed the HySE-X1, a new four-wheeled hydrogen-powered experimental vehicle that will run in the Mission 1000 program at the 2024 Dakar Rally. This vehicle was the first project to be revealed by HySE, the cooperative hydrogen engine development team previously formed by Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, Toyota, and Yamaha.
Since it’s now the middle of December 2023, that means the start of the 2024 Dakar Rally isn’t far away at all. While we’re certainly interested to see how things go for the HySE-X1, we would of course be even more interested if it was, say, a hydrogen engine motorcycle.
Thankfully, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is a massive company, and one that covers multiple segments. Since all those segments are currently engaged in working toward group carbon neutrality goals in different ways, they all occasionally hold group meetings where they give progress reports on how each segment is moving forward.
On December 12, 2023, Kawasaki Heavy Industries held its Group Vision 2030 Progress Report Meeting. It also helpfully posted the entire event on its YouTube channel, though as you’ll probably not be surprised to learn, it’s entirely in Japanese.
Updates from Kawasaki Motors Company Limited president and CEO Hiroshi Ito, Aerospace Systems Company senior managing executive officer Hiroyoshi Shimokawa, Energy Solutions and Marine Engineering Company senior managing executive officer Motohiko Nishimura, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Limited president and CEO Yasuhiko Hashimoto were all on the docket.
Naturally, the one we’re most interested in is the update from Kawasaki Motor Co. president and CEO Hiroshi Ito. During his segment, he gave updates on the recent rollouts of the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1 battery electric motorcycles, as well as the Ninja 7 HEV and Z 7 HEV that were announced a short time later.
With four of the five companies involved in HySE being Japan’s big four motorcycle companies, it was only a matter of time before a hydrogen engine motorcycle would finally show its face. On December 12, 2023, we had our first glimpse at it during this Kawasaki presentation.
According to President Ito, it’s based on the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX. Rather than Team Green’s usual colorways, the prototype design sticks to varying shades of calming blue. You’ll also see those in the HySE logo, as well as on the HySE-X1 vehicle that will be running at Dakar 2024.
Not much in the way of concrete information or details were given. While the video includes a test rider showing off both the Ninja 7 Hybrid’s Walk function and the first public exhibition of the Hybrid Engine Motorcycle prototype, sadly there isn’t even so much as a short clip of a startup.
President Ito went on to say that testing would soon begin with this prototype, which is likely the reason why a startup wasn’t attempted while cameras were rolling.
Are you intrigued by HySE’s research into a potential hydrogen engine motorcycle? Would you be interested in riding one if the infrastructure existed to reliably supply you with fuel as needed? Let us know in the comments!