Motorcycles

Kawasaki shows variable-architecture three wheeler EV concept

Kawasaki shows variable-archit...
Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon /Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon / Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon / Gizmag.com)
Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon / Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon / Gizmag.com)
Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon / Gizmag.com)
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Kawasaki's J concept on show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Mike Hanlon / Gizmag.com)
The Kawasaki J concept
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The Kawasaki J concept
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The Kawasaki J concept
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The Kawasaki J concept
The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
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The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
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The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
The Kawasaki J concept in Sport mode
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The Kawasaki J concept in Sport mode
The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
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The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
The Kawasaki J concept in Sport mode
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The Kawasaki J concept in Sport mode

The once clear delineation between the car and motorcycle has become somewhat muddied in recent times with the emergence of an array of narrow tracked vehicle designs sporting two, three and four wheels. Kawasaki threw another fascinating oddity into the ring at the Tokyo Motor Show today with the unveiling of the outlandish, shape-shifting "J" 3-wheel electric vehicle concept.

Looking something like a Tron Lightcycle in Kawasaki Lime Green livery, the J is able to morph between a low-slung riding position (Sport Mode) that allows the rider to carve through corners at speed and a higher stance (Comfort Mode) in which the distance between the front wheels is widened for more relaxed urban cruising. Steering-wise, the J has neither a wheel or handlebars, instead employing two levers that seem akin to those found on zero-turn ride-on lawn mowers.

The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode
The Kawasaki J concept in Comfort mode

Details of the all-electric vehicle's drive-train are scant, but Kawasaki says the J concept makes use of its proprietary battery management technology and GIGACELL high-capacity nickel-metal hydride battery.

We would love to throw a leg over one of these beasts, but at this stage there's no indication that the J is likely to move beyond concept stage.

So what's your verdict? Outlandish, outstanding, or a bit of both. Let us know in the comments below.

18 comments
Pin
When will it end: "Oh it's electric? Better make it as stupidly gaudy as possible"
Mel Tisdale
The pantomime season would seem to have started early this year. With the details being scant it is difficult to tell how it is actually steered, with two options being possible. One would require Ironman wrists and the other many weeks of practice to get over the inherent counter intuitiveness. Perhaps some fairy will descend and turn it back into a pumpkin, and not a minute too soon.
owlbeyou
It's a slick motorized electric wheelchair for wealthy handicapped people who want to go fast. Hard to tell what part of the tires is in contact with the ground. And that shark fin at the back is very practical :)
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is way cool. I agree that is TRON like and it is one of the reasons I like it. It is also cool since one is not bent over all the time but have a choice of positions.
leafygreen
It looks several thousand miles better in 'Sport Mode' configuration than in 'Comfort Mode' - presumably the latter is designed ever so slightly more for PHYSICAL comfort rather than the mental comfort of not having everyone laugh at/pity you...
Ron Olson
It still looks stupid with a high CG. Why not go with something more low-slung like a recumbent bicycle?
Satweavers
That green fin on the back looks really dangerous. If you slid off the back of the saddle.... ooohh... I don't even want to think about it!
PaulYak
Why wont the just release affordable, long range designs to market as this, was supposed to be the reason for electric vehicles to make transport cheaper/better than oil. STOP Pandering to oil corps and get us great electric commuters that WILL make our city life better/cleaner.
ridgetopboy
I kinda sorta looks cool in a TRON like way but it will never fly. Got to agree with Mel on the steering, a non-starter. The rear fin, someone had to do it... Then there's the Ni Metal Hydride battery? Ever have a NiH battery powered drill? How many charge cycles did it last? Not to mention they are HEAVY! But hey, I like the idea of pushing the boundaries and thinking out of the box, I give Kawasaki an "E" for effort.
dandrews1138
It looks pretty awesome in motorcycle mode, but "senior citizen wheelchair" mode leaves something to be desired.