Kawasaki Versys 7 Hybrid Patents Filed

Will a Versys-style adventure model be next up in Kawasaki’s hybrid lineup?

Patent applications have emerged that show that Kawasaki is apparently working on a hybrid adventure bike that could possibly be called the Versys 7 Hybrid.Kawasaki

After a long period of development Kawasaki finally launched its production Ninja 7 Hybrid in 2023—closely matching the machine previewed at EICMA in 2022 and seen in prototype form earlier that year. It then followed that up with a surprise second model, the Z7 Hybrid, based on the same chassis and engine. Now there’s a hint that a third variant may be in the pipeline in the form of a Versys 7 Hybrid.

A patent application filed in Japan shows Kawasaki’s 451cc parallel twin and hybrid electric powertrain fitted into the silhouette of a Versys-style adventure-tourer complete with longer-travel suspension, raised ground clearance, and upright riding position. And while it’s far from certain that the patent genuinely illustrates a future production model it’s hard to argue with the logic of making such a bike now that the company’s hybrid technology is in production.

Kawasaki’s hybrid powertrain as seen in the Ninja 7 Hybrid.Kawasaki

The patent itself relates to elements of the cooling system, as used on the Ninja 7 Hybrid and Z7 Hybrid, so there’s no intrinsic need for the illustrations in the document to feature a Versys-style bike. Indeed, this is the only one of many patents related to the hybrid that we’ve seen to show a Versys-like outline—most either show the Ninja 7 Hybrid’s shape or put the powertrain into a generic, almost cartoonish bike that gives no hint to the genuine appearance.

Kawasaki’s Ninja 7 Hybrid stripped down.Kawasaki

Although illustrated in a simplistic way, the main mechanical elements shown in this patent appear to be the same as the Ninja 7 Hybrid and Z7 Hybrid, with no change to the design of the steel tube frame and the same engine with the electric motor stacked above its transmission. The shape lacks the bulbous underseat box that contains the main, 48V drive battery on the real, production hybrid models, but since that’s not a key element of the patent’s subject it may have simply been omitted to make the illustration easier to understand.

It’s possible that Kawasaki has used this Versys-like shape as a red herring, but given the fact that adventure-style bikes are currently more popular in many markets than either Ninja-style sportbikes or naked streetbikes like the Z7 Hybrid it’s likely that should a Versys 7 Hybrid be added to the range it would outsell its sister Hybrid models. It’s also a part of the market where the range and fuel economy of the hybrid system might well prove more attractive to customers, and where the weight penalty of carrying two complete powertrains (internal combustion and electric) wouldn’t be as noticeable when compared to the competition. What’s more, the automated clutch and choice of push-button manual transmission operation or fully automatic mode would also be welcomed in the adventure-touring market, where equivalents like Honda’s DCT version on the Africa Twin are already popular.