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Mission RS: Mission aims to be a two-wheeled Tesla

May 31, 2013

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Apologies to Brammo. I’ve previously argued that the closest analog to Tesla’s superior technology in the two-wheeled realm is Mission.. with the obvious exception that Mission is not a pioneer in getting bikes into people’s hands.

Mission may change the last bit about getting bikes into people’s hands soon. At least, the new company Mission Motorcycles, who licenses technology from Mission Motors, of 2011 TTXGP Laguna Seca fame.

Wired and Asphalt & Rubber have some good coverage of what we can expect to see from Mission, but I’ll touch the highlights:

  • Mission RS (race special) – street-legal version of 2011 race-bike
  • Production limit of 40 vehicles
  • Summer 2014 delivery
  • $59,999 MSRP (no federal tax credit, as it expires at the end of 2013)
  • 160 hp, 120 ft-lb direct-drive liquid-cooled powertrain
  • 17 kWh onboard battery (nominal or max?)
  • 4.5 kW onboard AC charging
  • Öhlins FGRT fork, BST carbon fiber wheels, monoblock brakes (ABS rear)
  • Multiple drive modes (normal, race), 4 kHz traction control
  • Advanced onboard telemetry and display, 1080p video capture, bluetooth link
  • Plans for a HUD-linked helmet (eat your heart out Google Glass)
  • No weight listed, probably 550+ pounds

Whew. They’re also planning a followup line of bikes called the Mission R, with 12 kWh, 15 kWh, 17 kWh onboard battery starting at $29,999. Suspension, brakes, wheels will be slightly lower spec but all of the advanced electronics will be available. An twin-charger 9kW charging system will be an option.

Compare Mission’s range claims against production 2013 electric bikes:

2013 Brammo Empulse 2013 Zero S ZF11.4 2014 Mission R 12 kWh 2014 Mission R 15 kWh 2014 Mission R 17 kWh
City range 1 121 miles 137 miles 170 miles 200 miles 230 miles
Combined city/hwy 2 77 miles 93 miles 105 miles 120 miles 140 miles
Highway 3 56 miles 70 miles 76 miles 86 miles 101 miles
Max AC charge power 3 kW 1.3 kW 9 kW 9 kW 9 kW
AC charge time 3.5 hours (99%) 7.9 hours (100%) 1.4 hours 1.7 hours 2 hours
DC charge time N/A 1.0 hour (95%) N/A N/A N/A
AC charge rate (combined riding) 22 miles/hour 12 miles/hour 70 miles/hour 70 miles/hour 70 miles/hour

1 EPA UDDS city

2 50% city miles, 50% highway miles

3 70 mph highway range

Mission is using a pair of 4.5 kW AC chargers to get 9 kW of AC charging power. Prior to the recent announcement of production bikes, Mission promoted itself as a Tier 1 EV component supplier; presumably they have adapted their 4.5 kW onboard charger for the production bike. The clever part of  this charger is that it shares the powertrain’s liquid cooling system, allowing for high charging power with relatively small weight and volume requirements.

This is a somewhat radical shift from other production manufacturers who either push 110V AC chargers with high-rate DC charging (Zero) or small J1772 AC chargers with bulky heatsinks (Brammo), allowing Mission to charge at high rates using the most common EV charging infrastructure available in the US. No production bike to date is truly suitable for touring – unless heavily modified like Terry Herschner’s continent-swallowing 2012 Zero (160+ mile range at 70 mph, ~1 hour charging from 12+ kW onboard AC chargers) .. but Mission has raised the bar for J1772 charging.

However, Mission Motors is no stranger to promising ludicrous performance at ludicrous prices. As far back as 2009 they promised to sell the 150 mph Mission One superbike at $69k. I hope they can navigate the hurdles to successfully shipping production bikes in 2014; I wonder what the competitive landscape will look like in a year.

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