It’s well known that Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha and even Harley-Davidson all see a future with an electric bike in their lineup. Kawasaki has probably been the busiest of the major manufacturers with their patents and they’ve just lodged another one – this time for a regenerative braking system specifically for motorcycles.
The issue with regenerative braking on motorcycles is that bikes have much less intertia than larger vehicles such as cars which use the technology to good effect. That means that when rolling off the throttle, the regenerative system can sometimes cause too much loss of speed – akin to actual braking. Earlier reviews of bikes from Zero Motorcycles in fact noted the unsettling feeling this produces although it has been improved over the years.
Essentially, Kawasaki’s system incorporates a variety of sensors that control the regenerative braking process. Just coming off the throttle slightly and the system doesn’t engage. Come completely off the throttle and apply the brakes and the system kicks in. The system also takes into account the lean angle of the bike for those naughty people who chop the throttle in the corners.
It’s not like this hasn’t all been thought of before of course with KTM, BMW and Zero – as well as others – taking these things into account. What is more interesting is that Kawasaki continues to investigate technology related to electric motorcycles. Previously they’ve filed patents for an electric motorcycle with batteries that could be quickly swapped in and out. Kawasaki has also filed trademarks for names such as Ninja E2 and Ninja E2R which may hint to an upcoming electric sportsbike.