Its Continuing Mission…

So, actual deliveries are a good thing, when the e-moto industry has seen more pitches than products.  But the exciting prmmloduct news of the industry this summer was Mission’s newfound initiative.

Mission hadn’t been selling its electric superbike.  They were selling their services as expert consultants to other EV companies (read: cagemakers, but also industrial drives).  The go-fast bike they had handbuilt was only there to promote the company name in general, and its technological achievements in particular.

According to rumor, however, an investor dropped a pile of money on Mission, and had them work on production and public sales.  The company will (supposedly) deliver the Mission RS in limited numbers next summer; after that run, a lower-spec Mission R will follow.

In case I haven’t mentioned: these bikes are fast.  Frequent comparisons are to the Ducati superbikes; horsepower is lower, but torque is higher, as you’d expect from electric drive, and with none of those shift interruptions.  The bike took the electric-class record at Laguna Seca (by about forty seconds), and would have been competitive in the gasser class anyway.  All this, and ranges of 100-200 miles (depending on model, and city vs. highway).  Craig Bramscher once said he wanted to build ‘the Tesla of motorcycles.’  Mission now says ‘sit down, Craig.’

If you’ll permit me: the Mission RS will claim turn-by-turn GPS, and a stabilized camera in the nose, both feeding a heads-up display in compatible helmets.  That nose is shared with an LED headlight- not a running light, mind you.  That’s something no other electric (and few gassers) now offer.  The bikes will connect to a phone or tablet (“MissionOS”), for extra information and programmable drive (as Zeros now do for 2013).  This software can be updated over the air, via its cellular link.  The bikes claim to offer reverse gear; only the fanciest, biggest tourers now have reverse.  For charging, Mission has their own technology.  The bikes can optionally double up two J1772 plugs, for a “fill” in 1-2 hours; I’ve heard different numbers at different times.

Of course, I can’t claim the Missions will be faultless.  The obvious question is how bad a sticker shock.  The RS will be ~$60,000; the later R will be ~$30,000, due mainly to cheaper rims and suspension components.  And, of course, the second-mover advantage.  The R will benefit from lessons learned building the RS, and components will also be less as time passes.  Brammo also did this, with their Empulse R and Empulse.  The Missions will also be somewhere around 500 lbs, noticeably more than a similar Ducati.  And yet, due to the centralized mass distribution and lack of gyroscope effect, reviewers note that the Mission feels as good as a Panigale.  It can easily wheelie that weight- that’s been demonstrated plenty of times.

Possibly the biggest issue for buyers though, are the limited volumes.  There will be few dealers, if any; instead, Mission will deliver each one from the factory to your doorstep.  That can’t be a competitive business practice.  For service, your choices will similarly be limited.  And they will need service, electric or not.  When a manufacturer builds in quantities this low, it’s a given that consistency will be off.  These numbers are still in handbuilder territory; the production run will be less than Porsche, less than Ferrari, and more like Lamborghini or Aston Martin.

Owners of Ferraris and Lamborghinis have frequent issues; even Porsches are not shining examples of German efficiency.  You can imagine Aston Martins, then.  Of course, something tells me the owner of a $60,000 car (let alone a $60,000 bike) also has a daily driver or grocery-getter.  Mission claims to have sold half the allotment of 2014 RS bikes within 72 hours;  servicing and daily drivers apparently aren’t dealbreakers.  Let’s hope Mission’s technological achievements filter down to a volume bike, with volume prices and volume quality.  Mission is hinting that something else is coming for 2015…

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