Kawasaki has officially introduced its inaugural electric motorcycles to the US market: the 2024 Ninja e-1 and Z e-1. These two electric bikes stay true to the design aesthetics of their respective lineages, boasting sleek and visually appealing exteriors. Powering both the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1 is a 5 kW electric motor with the capability to reach a peak power output of 9 kW.
They also incorporate regenerative braking technology, eliminating the need for clutch operation, a common feature in electric motorcycles. Users have the flexibility of removable 30 amp-hour battery packs, which can be conveniently charged via standard household outlets, a docking station, or while still inside the bike. Achieving a full battery charge takes approximately 3.7 hours according to Kawasaki. The bikes' lighting and instrument cluster are independently powered by a 12-volt battery, similar to traditional combustion-engine motorcycles.
Kawasaki estimates a range of 41 miles on a single charge in Road mode, although real-world figures may differ due to various factors. Both models sport a robust steel trellis frame design, along with standard ABS and 17-inch alloy wheels. Suspension duties are handled by a 41mm telescopic front fork and a bottom-link Uni-Trak rear setup with four-way adjustable preload. Braking systems consist of a single two-piston caliper in the front and rear, with varying disc sizes differentiating the models. The bikes share the same wheelbase, ground clearance, and seat height dimensions, with differences primarily seen in width, height, and curb weight.
The Ninja e-1, in particular, is longer, taller, and heavier than its counterpart, the Z e-1. Both motorcycles offer two power modes – Eco and Road – and a notable e-Boost feature, providing a temporary power boost. Eco mode prioritizes range extension with a top speed electronically governed at 36 mph, while Road mode offers a more versatile experience, allowing for a top speed of 51 mph. Engaging the e-Boost function briefly unlocks extra power for stronger acceleration and higher top speeds.
This feature is accessible in both Eco and Road modes, temporarily increasing the top speed to around 59 mph in Road mode and 44 mph in Eco mode. To assist with parking, Kawasaki includes a Walk Mode as a standard feature on both bikes, allowing slow forward and reverse movement at maximum speeds of approximately five kilometers per hour and 2.8 kilometers per hour, respectively.
On the technological front, both the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1 are equipped with a 4.3-inch TFT color display that can be manually switched between light and dark modes or set to automatically adjust based on ambient light conditions. Additionally, they offer Bluetooth connectivity through Kawasaki's Rideology app, enhancing the rider's experience. Practicality is not overlooked, as both motorcycles feature a small front trunk (frunk) in place of a traditional fuel tank and provide additional underseat storage, large enough to accommodate a U-lock. These features make them not only stylish but also convenient options in the electric motorcycle market.