Kawasaki – hydrogen hyperbike offers a glimpse into the future with new the H2 SX concept
Kawasaki – hydrogen hyperbike offers a glimpse into the future with new the H2 SX concept.
This prototype Kawasaki may be bulbous but it’s potentially enormously significant for the future of the brand.
Unveiled at the company’s internal ‘Group Vision 2030’ conference in mid-December, it’s called the Ninja H2 HySE and if it makes it past the concept stage could become Japan’s first hydrogen-powered motorcycle.
Although built by Kawasaki and based on the supercharged Ninja H2 SX sports tourer, the prototype is actually a product of HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology), the cooperative hydrogen engine development team formed by Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, Toyota, and Yamaha.
It’s also the latest milestone in a series of unveilings exploring the potential of hydrogen and other low carbon solutions – with a video embedded within the conference showing a rider straddling a physical prototype motorcycle.
Hiroshi Ito, CEO of Kawasaki Motors, said:
In the future, we will pursue the potential of hydrogen engines by gathering members not only from Japan, but also from all over the world to conduct basic research.
“Today, we are pleased to introduce the world premiere of a hydrogen engine motorcycle,” he continued. “The bike is based on our Ninja H2 SX, and we will begin test runs at the beginning of the year to study its future.”
Back in October, Toyota unveiled the HySE-X1, a four-wheeled, hydrogen-powered prototype buggy set to race in the Mission 1000 category at the 2024 Dakar Rally. While earlier this year, Kawasaki put into production the world’s first petrol/electric hybrid motorcycles, the Ninja 7 HEV and Z 7 HEV along with their first electric bikes, the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1.
However, the Ninja H2 HySE, by being the first full-size, hydrogen powered motorcycle, is by far the most significant of them all – not just for Kawasaki and their target of a 2030 carbon zero future, but for the motorcycling as a whole.
Although details are scarce and the bike has so far only been seen in a video on Kawasaki’s YouTube channel, it’s claimed to be ‘rider ready’ and was built to showcase the feasibility and potential of hydrogen as a fuel source for motorcycles of the future.
As the bike is effectively a converted Ninja H2 SX many of the mechanicals, likely electronics and cycle parts are totally familiar, yet the hydrogen-powered H2 HySE also boasts some novel features.
The supercharged 998cc four-cylinder engine, as previously showcased in a study at the 2022 Milan show, incorporates direct injection and is potentially capable of in excess of 200bhp.
Direction injection could churn out over 200bhp
The revised bodywork features a distinctive H-shaped LED headlight, symbolising hydrogen, and is in a bold blue colour with a honeycomb motif, distinguishing it from Kawasaki’s traditional green.
While the ‘panniers’, far from carrying luggage for a weekend away, are actually hydrogen fuel canisters, so suggesting a solution for one of hydrogen’s biggest problems – safely storing the hydrogen fuel under pressure.
As for the rest, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next!