Putting a motorcycle engine in a car is not new, but it always fascinates car enthusiasts. This is why the Kawasaki-powered Nissan Leaf of YouTuber SuperfastMatt is one interesting take on the rather humble EV.
The Nissan Leaf is not known for its power or speed; quite the opposite, really. However, by combining the Leaf with a powerful Kawasaki ZX10R engine, parts from a Nissan 370Z, a Ford Mustang, a Lexus IS350, and other custom parts, builder/automotive wizard Derek Young was able to create an exciting plug-in hybrid vehicle with 280 bhp (209 kilowatts) and screams up to 13,000 RPM.
While the idea of combining a motorcycle engine with a car seems complicated, the basic principle is to start with a light vehicle. Young chose to differ, though, and went for a battery-operated base car.
The Kawasaki ZX10R liter-bike comes with an extremely powerful engine. Its abundance, fortunately, makes it viable for projects with a little bit of modification.
The conversion process was not without its challenges. The Nissan Leaf had severe battery degradation, which left it with only 25 miles of range. The lack of structure in the back of the EV was another challenge that had to be addressed. To solve this, parts from a Lexus IS350 were used to add structure, axles, and driven wheels to the Leaf.
SuperfastMatt was quick to point out that the controls of his car can be a bit confusing at first, but the concept is simple. The car can be driven like a standard Leaf, but when it's time for some fun, the rider can fire up the Kawasaki engine and enjoy the power and speed of the bike. The car even features a bump start feature that allows the electric motor to start the engine – akin to an LMP hybrid vehicle.
The Kawasaki-powered Nissan Leaf is a unique build and the video atop this page gives you an idea of the process behind the build. At this point in time, nothing's impossible in the realm of aftermarket modification, and this car is proof of that.